Monday, November 7, 2011

Roads of The Bible Pt. 4

Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Mark 10:46, 47

The Road to Jericho
It happened on the Jericho Road.  You may not realize it, but there is much in the scriptures that happens on the Jericho Road.  In Luke chapter 19, it is on the road to Jericho that Zacchaeus climbs up the sycamore tree so he can catch a glimpse of Jesus and winds up hosting the Lord in his home.  It is on the road to Jericho that Jesus places his subjects as he tells the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke chapter 10.  And it is on that same road in Mark 10 above where Jesus encounters Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus.

Jericho road is a road of historic treachery.  It is a seventeen-mile road that connects Jerusalem to Jericho.  Over the course of those seventeen miles, the road drops an estimated 3600 feet. It is a steep, winding, descending, remote road that for centuries has been a place of robberies.  No doubt, it was the suffering associated with the Jericho road that inspired Jesus to use it as the stage for his lesson involving the Samaritan.

Three Men, Three Encounters
Including the story of the Good Samaritan, where Jesus practically paints himself into the plot as the man rejected by Jews who shows great mercy, we find three individuals who encounter Jesus on the Jericho Road:  Bartimaeus, who was blind and a beggar; Zacchaeus, who was short in stature, and hated as a tax collector; and the Samaritan man of the story, who was hated not for anything he had done, but simply for being born a Samaritan.

Each of these, though rejected by their world, find meaning and acceptance when they encounter Jesus on the Jericho Road.  Through these three, it becomes very easy for us to identify and relate, for we also have been rejected by men.  We too have been born with afflictions.  We too have known what it is to feel small, and less-than others.

A Lesson In Song
In his song “On The Jericho Road”, Don S. McCrossan stressed the concept of a one-on-one encounter with Jesus: 
“As you travel along on the Jericho Road does the world seem all wrong and heavy load?  Just bring it to Christ your sins all confess on the Jericho Road your heart He will bless. On the Jericho Road there's room for just two. No more and no less, just Jesus and you each burden He'll bear, each sorrow he'll share. There's never a care for Jesus is there.”

A Broader Vision
While we’ve gone to much length here to place ourselves on the Jericho Road, we are wise to look around us and see those around us who are lost, or beaten, or rejected, or cast aside on the Jericho Road.  It is here that Jesus’ message concerning the Good Samaritan comes into focus.  When asked who is our neighbor, Jesus replied: “Who was the one who showed true love to the man on the side of the road?” When the evidence pointed to the Samaritan, the instruction was given: “Go and do likewise.” (see Luke 10:25-37)

Prayer: “Savior, we were beaten, and broken, and lost; yet you took us in.  Help us to gather into our watchful care, those who are the downtrodden, and forgotten.  Make us your hands and feet, and arms.”

Scripture to claim:  
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:40

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