What an unusual book. I don't think I've read anything quite like it. Loconte has taken the experience of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) and related it to the experiences of mankind.
He goes through the story, paragraph by paragraph, and contemplates what the two disciples were thinking and feeling. He adds stories and experiences from ancient civilizations, novels, history, movies, sports, philosophers, authors – all aspects of human experience.
One section that might serve as an example is that about when dreams die. The disciples had hoped Jesus would be the one to redeem Israel. Instead, the chief priests and rulers had killed him. Loconte helps us understand what we are to do when we feel betrayed. His is not some “trust Jesus and everything will be OK” kind of answer. He deals with humility and facing the reality that we were clinging to falsehoods about life and God. He reminds us, “...no matter where we are on the road to Emmaus, we all nurture illusions about God.” He suggests, “A little more humility in matters of faith would be a good thing for most of us.” He also points out that though the two on the road to Emmaus had realized that some of their deeply help beliefs had been mistaken, they still desired to know God more.
That was just Loconte's exposition on one part of the story. At another point in the book he talks about when religion does harm (clearly distinguishing Jesus' teaching from “religion”). I was fascinated with Loconte's commentary on the part of the story where Jesus explains all that was in the Old Testament concerning Him. Loconte relates that to conspiracy theories. What a great piece of writing.
I was really impressed with this book. I had no idea so much could be gathered from and related to a passage of Scripture. This book is an excellent resource for anyone contemplating preaching on this passage. I would certainly recommend it to anyone wanting to understand more of how people of biblical times felt shortly after the crucifixion. That Loconte pointed out how those feelings have been experienced across civilization was amazing.
Joseph Loconte is an Associate Professor of History at King's College in New York City, where he teaches Western Civilization and American Foreign Policy. His writings have appeared in the nation's leading media outlets. He serves as a senior fellow at the Trinity Forum and an affiliated scholar at the John Jay Institute. He divides his time between New York City and the Washington, D. C. area.
Thomas Nelson, 240 pages. Publisher product page.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.