The ancient town of Emmaus lay approximately 7 miles (11 km) northwest of present day Jerusalem. It would have taken 2-3 hours to walk there and for Jesus to explain his view of the scriptures. It will take a lot longer to read this book, partially because they already shared the cultural context of the scriptures, but I also doubt that Jesus explained quite as fully. An outline should have proved sufficient for understanding to dawn.
Jesus’ peers knew the Hebrew Bible inside out. They had been raised on it from childhood and would have memorised large parts of it. Yet to the two on the Emmaus road that view of the scriptures did not logically lead to Jesus ’ ministry, to his death on the cross, or to his resurrection. Then Jesus met with them and, by the time they reached Emmaus, had given them a different view of the scriptures. He showed them how, over the millennia, God had first established, and then upheld, a series of legal precedents, how those precedents set the agenda for Jesus and ultimately took him to the cross, and how the cross could be a legally effective sacrifice. It showed them what lay behind many of the more curious passages and how to read the flow of Israel’s history, but also why the Mosaic law would be so much less significant to the church. If we are going to understand the historical Jesus, we all need a glimpse of that Emmaus view.
This page links to the draft text of a book called The Emmaus View. It might equally be subtitled The Hebrew Bible as Jesus Saw It or An exploration of Some Foundational Concepts Behind Jesus’ Ministry, Inspired by Matthew 1:1-3:17, either of which would fit. Yet Uncovering the Agenda of Jesus represents a pretty good description of its scope. The manuscript is complete, but not fully proof-read as yet. It amounts to about 380-400 pages in a typical A5 format.
The book arose out of a desire to clarify the context of the Sermon on the Mount by better understanding the message of Matt 1:1-3:17. Many of the later chapters rely on the foundations built by earlier ones. Therefore, please consider reading all of it before jumping to any hasty conclusions (or at least look at the page-plan summary of its contents).