After the Crucifixion, two of Christ's disciples set out for Emmaus. They were joined by Christ himself, disguised as a pilgrim, who explained the prophecies concerning his death and resurrection. It was not until they broke bread together at an inn in Emmaus that the disciples recognised the risen Christ (Luke 24: 13-29). A goldfinch in the foreground probably symbolises Christ's Passion.
The painting, which reveals the influence of Michelangelo, is datable after Orsi's trip to Rome (and probably to the period about 1565-75).