On the Jericho Road

Don Spooner - www.about-him.com

We all know the story commonly called, The Good Samaritan. It does not take too much imagination to place ourselves in the role of any character in the story. We all can identify with the man in the story, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Ro. 3:23). We all rejoice that the Savior met us at our point of need as we lay bruised and beaten in the gutter of sin.

Luke 10:30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

Jesus told this story in response to the interrogation of a self-righteous lawyer, who had asked what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus asked him how he interpreted the meaning of the law. His answer was, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, with all your mind and your neighbor as yourself.

Jesus accepted his answer as correct, however the man required the definition of the word neighbor. Thus, the story of The Good Samaritan.

A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. Jesus didnít say whether this man was white or black, rich or poor, a saint or a scoundrel. God only sees creation as people created in His own image, who have fallen and are in need of restoration. We read in Revelation of an innumerable multitude of people at the throne, giving praise and honor to the Lamb of God. Their song is recorded in Rev. 5:8, You have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every tribe and tongue and kindred and nation.

The distinctions of these words, tribe, tongue, kindred and nation paint a vivid word picture explaining the composition of the body of Christ. The composition might be likened to a large mural that is made of embedded stones and pebbles. Each one in different in shape, size and color. When they are put in the proper place by the artist, they made a grand picture.

The man went from Jerusalem which was the city of peace, the center of religion and the place where God had placed his name. He was traveling on a downward course to the city of Jericho which has always been a type of sin. He was attacked by thieves who beat and stripped him and left him for dead. We know that the work of the master thief is to kill and destroy (Jn. 10:10). Weíve all had our bouts with the thieves of sin. They have various names, but their job is to kill and destroy and they do it very efficiently.

Our text continues in Luke 10:31-32 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

The priest and Levite represent dead and unresponsive religion. Unfortunately, there are times we may be able to identify with these religious types, whether we admit it or not. We get so busy doing Godís work that we are blinded to what His work really is. I have seen churches who would not respond to prisoners or their families, who appeared to be from a different social class and who we could say were from the wrong side of the tracks. We can thank God that Jesus never recognized such divisions.

The Samaritan was a half-breed of a different culture and religion. He was absolutely from the wrong side of the tracks. By using such a one as this in His illustration, Jesus was sure to ruffle the feathers of this self-righteous professor. Jesus has a way of doing that, doesn't He? Every nation and region has always had a class of people who were looked down on and held in disdain and in ancient Palestine, it was the Samaritans.

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. - Luke 10:33-34

The thing that distinguished the Samaritan from others was that he had compassion. He bound up the manís wounds and treated them with oil and wine. Of course the Good Samaritan is a type of the Lord Jesus. He found us beaten and bloody, wasted by sin, laying in the gutter on the road to hell. He didnít ask why we were there. He didnít cast blame. He didnít demand that we present ourselves at the temple, before the religious dignitaries, to be evaluated for possible restoration. No, He met us there in the gutter, at our point of need. When Jesus appeared, that gutter on the road to Jericho became a grand cathedral. It became holy ground, because Jesus was there. Jesus washed us in the wine of His blood and filled us with the oil of the Holy Ghost and we will never be the same.

Jesus constantly demonstrated His compassion in the gospels. He was able to weep over the sinful city of Jerusalem and at the grave of His friend, Lazarus. As Hebrews 4:15 tells us, He truly was touched by the feeling of our infirmities. Twice He fed great multitudes with just a handful of food. After raising a young girl from the dead, His instructions were to give her something to eat. On one occasion, He even broiled some fish for some weary fishermen.

A man told Jesus that if He would, He could heal him. Jesus simply said, "I will." No examination, no qualifications, no recriminations, simply "I will." At another occasion on the Jericho road he heard the cry of a blind man whom the disciples were trying to hush. This man had an urgent need. He was blind and needed to see. Jesus met his need and healed him on the spot.

One day Jesus felt compelled to cross the proverbial tracks and go through Samaria. In fact Jesus spent a lot of time on the wrong side of the tracks. Arenít you glad for that! There he met a women who happened to be of the wrong race and the wrong religion and she wasnít exactly spotless in reputation. Jesus met her at her point of need and offered her Living Water so that she would never thirst again (Jn. 4:13-14).

He found another women who was about to be stoned for adultery. Her accusers, being all men. had evidently decreed some much less severe penalty for the man in this story. Perhaps a good sharp slap on the wrist. Jesus extended instant forgiveness with the injunction to go and sin no more (Jn 8:11). This women found her altar at the feet of Jesus. Jesus had met her where she was, at her point of need.

Jesus said that He was the Good Shepherd, who gave His life for the sheep (Jn. 10:11). He came to seek and to save the lost. He actively pursued and wooed the sinner. Weíve all seen the picture of Christ holding on to a branch while reaching down to rescue a stranded lamb. As the old song says, "I was that one lost sheep." Jesus left ninety nine righteous saints singing and shouting at the church house and pursued me.

The Samaritan took the poor soul to a local inn, made a down payment and left instructions for any further expense to be put on his tab. He promised to come again and repay the expense.

Luke 10:33-35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

Jesus has left us a down payment. He has filled us with His Spirit which Paul stated was the earnest or down payment of our inheritance. He has promised to return and there is a ledger being kept, whether of good or of evil. Jesus will repay.

Hebrews 6:10 tells us, For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. We know that even a cup of water given in the name of Jesus will be worthy of a reward (Mr. 9:41). On the other hand, Christ is coming to exercise vengeance upon those who donít know God and who donít obey the gospel of Christ (2 Th. 1:8). He said He is coming and that His reward is with Him.

Jesus gave an absolute assurance that He would respond to anybody who would come to Him. He stated in John 6:37 .... and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. What part of no wise donít we understand? Here we have an absolute promise from an absolute God that if we will come to Him, He will save us. He will bind up our wounds. He will wash us in His Blood. He will fill us with His Spirit. He will make provision for us until He returns.

His invitation still rings through the ages:

Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

So, if you are lying in the gutter on the road to Jericho and the religious folk have ignored and passed you by. Look up! Jesus is coming down the road seeking you. He desires to see you saved. Please respond to His gentle call. You wonít regret it.

 

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