Were Cleopas and his companion testifying that Jesus appeared to them on the road to Emmaus?

  • Question

    Shortly after reporting that Jesus’s tomb was discovered empty, Lk 24:13-35 reports that:
    A) Jesus in disguise came alongside a couple of his disciples while they were en route from Jerusalem to Emmas, discussing theology and Jesus’s death with them. When they stopped for a meal, Jesus was then recognized, at he suddenly disappeared. B) Those disciples then ran back to Jerusalem to tell the apostles.
    One disciple was purportedly named Cleopas, while Cleopas’s companion (possibly his wife) goes unnamed. Did these two disciples exist, and is Luke right in reporting that they publicly maintained, “we together walked and ate with the risen Jesus”?

    1. Lk 24:13-35 — While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. …[Jesus teaches them during the journey, and then toward evening has a meal with them.]… Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven […] They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.
“Yes, after all…
  • The account is not ultimately a lie/legend

    The Jesus-appearance to Cleopas (& his Emmaus escort) reported in Lk 24 was no one’s invention (meaning it was no lie, nor literary creation, nor legend of Luke’s or Luke’s sources)..

    We can debate these 3 arguments:

    • It is unappealing as an invented lie/legend.
    • Luke confirmed the account with Cleopas.
    • Jesus-bio witnesses controlled self-rumors.

    This is relevant if, given it also didn’t originate by accident, the only option left is that it originated as an honest eyewitness recounting. And of course an honest recounting could’ve only realistically originated with Cleopas and/or his companion reciting what they remember. (Rather than Cleopas’s companion, it was likely Cleopas himself that was Luke’s source. After all Luke was a Greco-Roman biography, and these conventionally cite witness sources via special inclusion of their names in the reported episode.)

  • In general, Luke relays witness testimony

    In general, the author of Luke inherited his Jesus-biography from relevant witnesses.

    A full page will debate these 5 arguments:

    • Lk traveled and spoke with witnesses.
    • Lk knew the oral reports/details.
    • Eyewitness oral traditions were not elusive.
    • Most biographers preferred using witnesses.
    • Lk was in contact with the witnesses.

    This is relevant because it suggests that in this specific case, Luke again is relaying relevant witness testimony: that of Cleopas and his companion.

  • In AD 30, the Jerusalem church said so

    In AD 30, the Jerusalem church was saying, “Jesus appeared to Cleopas and his companion.”

    A full page will debate this piece of evidence:

    • Luke visited the Jerusalem-witnesses (and the apostles/church there).
  • In general, the traditional witnesses say “Jesus visited us!”

    a surprised crowd with a speech bubble containing jesus with arms open

    Shortly after Jesus’s crucifixion, a variety of different persons/groups began to testify that Jesus appeared to them alive from the dead.

    This page covers these 7 examples:

    • E.g. “He visited us!” says Mary & women.
    • E.g. “He visited us!” says Cleopas & co.
    • E.g. “He appeared to me!” says Peter.
    • E.g. “He visited us!” say ‘the 12’ apostles.
    • E.g. “He visited us!”say ‘The 500’.
    • E.g. “He visited us!” say Acts 1 competitors.
    • E.g. “He appeared to me!” says James.
    • E.g. “He appeared to me!” says Paul.
    • 1st church’s Jesus-bio matched witness testimony.
    • The gospels Jesus-bio relayed witness testimony.