17 April 2010

Luke 24: Reversing the Curse

Yesterday during a panel discussion here at Wheaton's Theology Conference, N. T. Wright made a passing comment on a fascinating biblical-theological connection that I had never seen before.

In Luke 24, the resurrected Jesus walks on the road to Emmaus with two professing followers of God, explaining to them that the whole Bible is about him. They don't get it, however--at least, not until the rather oddly delayed moment of dinner later that evening.

When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized [lit. 'knew'] him.
(Luke 24:30-31)

The timing of the whole thing is strange. Why were their eyes opened at dinner and not at the Bible study?

Because Jesus is reversing the ancient curse, and Luke wants us to see it. In Genesis 3, the serpent comes to two professing followers of God, and offers them dinner.

. . . she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. (Gen 3:6-7)

The phrase in the Greek OT (the Septuagint) and the New Testament are almost identical. 'And their eyes were opened, and they knew.' Both pairs were offered food and, upon eating it, were ushered into a new moral universe.

Adam and Eve took the offered food, disobeying God, and now, tragically, 'knew' the curse of evil, plunging the whole human race into darkness. The two Emmaus road disciples took the offered food, receiving Christ, and now, wonderfully, 'knew' the reverse of the curse.


Derek Lehr said...

that is fascinating, I didn't pick that up, thanks for explaining it

Eric said...

Wow, I'd never noticed that. Thank you.