Read: Luke 24:13-27 NRSV
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
We have already confirmed that the resurrected Jesus walked and spoke using the same body and voice, yet the travelers on the road to Emmaus did not recognize him. Why not? The words “their eyes were kept from recognizing him” are ambiguous. They could mean that the travelers were so unwilling to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead that they simply could not understand what their eyes were showing them. Or that the resurrection had changed Jesus’ body in a way that it was not recognizable at first. A third possibility is Jesus deliberately prevented them from understanding their own eyesight. Whatever the cause, Jesus, under the cover of anonymity, begins to question the travelers.
Soon it is revealed that more than their eyesight is obscured. Jesus of Nazareth was among them for many years but their “eyes were kept from recognizing him,” that is, who he truly is. If this were a movie, this would be a part near the end where a series of flashbacks reveals to the audience that the man in disguise was really the king all along, and if we had simply tilted our head or taken a step back we would have seen how obvious it all was. The travelers did not recognize the face of Jesus, but they also did not recognize the prophesied Jesus. He must show them all the places in Moses and the prophets where he is described in the same way that the mysterious stranger draws back his hood to reveal that he was the king all along.