Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Dangerous Places

 Wednesday, February 24, 2021  

 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii[e] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him. Jesus told him, Go and do likewise. Luke 10:33-37                                                                                                  

The Jericho Road and Other Dangerous Places

The parable of the Good Samaritan, told by Jesus, is one a lot of us are familiar with. A man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho was robbed and beaten and left for dead. Three people came upon him and two crossed the road to avoid him while one stopped to help him.

The Jericho road connected Jerusalem and Jericho and was 17 miles of treacherous, dangerous, and violent road. 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.  Many events happened on the Jericho road in the Bible. In Luke 19, it is on the road to Jericho that Zacchaeus climbs up the sycamore tree so he can catch a glimpse of Jesus. And it is on that same road in Mark 10 where Jesus encounters Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus. The road to Jericho is also the setting for the parable that Jesus tells of the Good Samaritan in Luke chapter 10. Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan and chose the road to Jericho on purpose. The Jericho road in life is where we should be looking to help others and it is where we find Christ again and again.

Each of these, though rejected by their world, find meaning and acceptance when they encounter Jesus on the Jericho Road.  It is easy for us to identify and relate to these three men.  We have been rejected by men.  We have been born with afflictions.  We also have known what it is to feel small, and less-than others. As far as the road being a dangerous place, our world has certainly felt like a scary place this past year - a Jericho road all around us. 

Like those on the Jericho Road, we need to look around us and see those who are lost, or beaten, or rejected, or cast aside.  We can lead them to a Jesus encounter that will change their lives. It is here that Jesus’ message about 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)

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