Sermon on the Mount, The Emmaus View

Emmaus View,

The Emmaus view: Uncovering the agenda of Jesus.

The road to Emmaus

Two disciples flanking Jesus and walking on a rough road beside an olive grove
Les pèlerins d'Emmaüs en chemin
(The pilgrims of Emmaus on the road)
James Joseph Jacques Tissot
Wikimedia Commons | Donated Brooklyn Museum - No known restrictions on use

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.

A different view of the scriptures

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).

The Emmaus View

A book by R I Kirby

Front matter


  1. About a book, introducing the Gospel of Matthew
  2. About an author, Matthew the apostle
  3. Jesus, an Adam-like Messiah
  4. Cleanliness, a matter of divine opinion
  5. Eden’s curse and its covenant cure
  6. Noah’s memorable moment and Moses’ movable feast
  7. Priests after the order of Melchizedek
  8. Four daughters of Eve save her heritage
  9. Four sons of Adam loose their legacy
  10. Precedents for adopting a heritage
  11. Patriarchal protocols and terrible teraphim
  12. He shall be called Jesus
  13. Immanuel, God is with us
  14. The legacy of Balaam’s star
  15. Rachel’s tears and the fate of Gibeah
  16. Blood on the ground
  17. New Egypt, new Pharaoh, new Moses
  18. Nature of a Nazarene
  19. The recurrent day of judgement
  20. Isaiah’s day
  21. A new creation
  22. A hairy man in the wilderness
  23. Finding the way
  24. Warning to a brood of vipers
  25. To cleanse a nation
  26. Sin offerings and salvation
  27. Breaking Bread at the Inn 
  28. Epilogue


Indexes and bibliography

  1. Topical index (yet to be produced)
  2. Scripture index (yet to be produced)
  3. Bibliography