"As the geographical journey moves from Jerusalem to Jerusalem, the inward journey moves from desolation to hope, from blindness to recognition, from bewilderment to understanding, from death to life. In the Emmaus account the real destination of the disciples is understanding that the death and resurrection of Jesus mark the fulfilment of the hope of Israel.
"Luke writes of the way to Emmaus as a journey through Scripture to meet the risen Christ. The structure of this book follows the pattern of that story: it journeys through Scripture to understand how Luke writes the story of Jesus as a story which emerges from the story of Israel and fulfils its ancient hopes. As Emmaus stands at the turning-point of the Gospel and Acts, we will move beyond Emmaus to see how Luke writes the story of the early Church. It emerges as a corporate witness from the revealed word of the risen Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the word of salvation is proclaimed from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.
"Throughout his writing Luke gives a sense of continuity to the revelation of salvation, from its beginnings in Israel, through its fulfilment in the mission of Jesus, to its proclamation to the Gentiles. This book aims to show how Luke gives substance to that continuity by adopting two Old Testament concepts, the visit of God and the word of God, concepts which he brings into the Gospel and Acts. These prove to be major links which fasten the story of Israel to the story of Jesus, and the story of Jesus to the life of the apostolic and post-apostolic Church.
"In his visit and in his word God is seen to take the initiative in letting his presence be known and his thoughts be revealed. If the revelation of salvation celebrates what God does and says, it also says in the same breath how this is understood and interpreted in the light of human experience. The offer of God must be addressed to the world of the particular if it is to give shape to the human story; his visit and word are first experienced before their saving significance is proclaimed to others. We shall see how Luke celebrates the visit and the word of God in the person of Jesus and how the evangelist reserves the authoritative interpretation of all this to the risen Jesus himself.
"For Luke it is only when the risen Jesus visits his disciples and discloses the meaning of what has happened that the beginning of an Easter faith is possible. That Easter experience is only interpreted to others as a word of salvation when the disciples are empowered to witness by the Spirit. Further, the dramatic move to accept Gentiles into the Church without demanding total obedience to the Law is recounted as an inspired decision by Peter which emerges from the visit of God and which is supported, in turn, by the word of God in Scripture. Luke roots the growth of the Gentile Church in post-apostolic times in the act of the same God who first chose Israel from among the nations. Thus he maintains the continuity of the revelation of salvation from the time of its beginning to his own era.
"This book has grown out of teaching courses on Luke to priests, religious and lay people, and I would like to acknowledge their encouragement and critical support." - Denis McBride (from the Preface)
"Those who take the trouble to journey through Denis McBride's scholarly and eminently readable book will have their understanding of the Scriptures (especially the Gospel of Luke) deepened. At a time when the Scriptures have rightly been restored to a central role in the life of the Church and of the individual Christian, this is no small gain." - Flor McCarthy, SDB
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