Why Did the Disciples Not Recognize Jesus on the Road to Emmaus?

Have you ever wondered why the disciples did not recognize Jesus on the road to Emmaus? This biblical account is found in Luke 24:13-35, where two disciples were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus, discussing the recent events surrounding Jesus’ death and resurrection. As they were walking, a stranger joined them and began talking to them about the scriptures.

The Importance of the Road to Emmaus

The road to Emmaus is significant for several reasons. First, it was a real place that existed during Jesus’ time.

It was a small village located about seven miles from Jerusalem. Second, this story is one of the few instances in which Jesus appears after his resurrection. Finally, this event serves as an example of how Jesus reveals himself through scripture.

Why Didn’t They Recognize Him?

One may wonder why these disciples did not recognize Jesus even though they had spent so much time with him. There are several reasons for this.

Firstly, their grief and sorrow over Jesus’ death may have clouded their judgment. They were still mourning his death and were likely consumed by their emotions. This could have prevented them from recognizing him.

Secondly, Jesus’ appearance may have changed after his resurrection. In other accounts of his appearances after his resurrection, people initially did not recognize him. For example, in John 20:14, Mary Magdalene thought he was a gardener until he spoke to her.

Finally, it is possible that God prevented them from recognizing him until the right moment. As we see in verse 16 of Luke 24, “but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.” This could be because God wanted to reveal himself through scripture first before revealing himself physically.

The Importance of Scripture

Jesus used scripture to reveal himself to these disciples on the road to Emmaus. In verses 25-27 of Luke 24, Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!

Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”

This shows us the importance of studying scripture. Just as Jesus revealed himself through scripture then, he reveals himself through scripture now. It’s through studying God’s word that we can come to know him more intimately.

The Reveal

It wasn’t until Jesus broke bread with the disciples that they finally recognized him. In verse 30-31 it says, “When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him..”

This is a powerful metaphor for how we come to recognize Jesus in our own lives. It’s when we partake in communion with him that our eyes are opened and we see him for who he truly is.


The story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus is one of my favorite biblical accounts because it reminds us of several important truths. Firstly, our emotions can cloud our judgment and prevent us from recognizing Jesus in our own lives.

Secondly, scripture is a powerful tool that God uses to reveal himself to us. Finally, it’s through communion with Jesus that we come to recognize him for who he truly is.

As you continue your journey with Christ, may you be reminded of these truths and be encouraged by this beautiful story from Luke 24:13-35.