A Crash Course Before Touring Emmaus
What we know about Emmaus:
1. After Jesus’ resurrection, two men (one of them named Cleopas) were walking from Jerusalem to a village called Emmaus (Luke 24:13, 18).
2. The village of Emmaus was “about 7 miles [or 60 stadia] from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:13).
3. The men did not recognize Jesus when he appeared to them and began walking with them on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:14-16).
4. When Jesus asked the men what they were talking about they were shocked because everyone in Jerusalem knew what had taken place there! The men then told Jesus what had happened to Jesus himself (Luke 24:17-24).
5. Jesus explained the Scriptures to them (and they still didn’t recognize him!) (Luke 24:25-27).
6. It wasn’t until Jesus took the bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them that they recognized him [“their eyes were opened”] (Luke 24:28-31).
7. They couldn’t wait to tell the rest of the disciples what had happened to them and returned to Jerusalem from Emmaus that same night (Luke 24:32-35)!
What we don’t know about Emmaus:
1. Where it really was located!
- The traditional site of Nicopolis is located off of the highway which runs between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, overlooking the Ayalon Valley. The Greek historian Eusebius was the first to mention Nicopolis as the biblical village of Emmaus, and Jerome implied that a church was built in Nicopolis in the house of Cleopas. Thus from the 4th century onward, Nicopolis has been the traditional site of Emmaus. It is here where you will see the ruins of a 12th century church.
- Other possible locations include Abu Ghosh, where the Crusaders built a church in 1140 and called the place Castellum Emmaus; El-Qubeiheb (El-Kubeiheh) which was first suggested as the location of Emmaus in 1280. Franciscans built a church here in 1902 above what is believed to be the foundations of Cleopas’ house; and Colonia (Kulonieh), near modern Moza, which is within easy walking distance of Jerusalem.
http://www.seetheholyland.net/emmaus/ (provides information on why each possible site was chosen as well as factors against each possibility)