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On the Road to Jericho
A man fell among thieves, was beaten, robbed and left half dead, on the road to Jericho. A Levite and a priest passed him by, on the other side. Finally, a certain Samaritan had compassion, took the poor stranger to an inn, and saw to his care. On another occasion, Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, when they came upon “blind Bartimaeus. . .[who] sat by the highway side begging” (Mar 10:46). As this blind man sat by the wayside, on the road to Jericho, he heard about Jesus and cried out persistently. Jesus called to him, restored his vision, and then he saw Jesus. It was on the road to Jericho that Zacchaeus “climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way” (Luk 19:4). He too had already heard about Jesus, but now he desired to see Jesus. This lost sinner, this “chief among the publicans” (Luk 19:2), climbed that tree to see Jesus, on the road to Jericho. Christian, have you heard about Jesus? When the pale of darkness falls all around you, it is on the road to Jericho where you too can see Jesus, who will embrace you and restore your life vision. When you find yourself robbed, wounded and broken, will you receive the tender, caring concern and healing balm of the Good Samaritan? Will you now come take a walk on the road to Jericho?

by Jerry Gentry

“And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness” (Isa. 29:18).

“I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment” (Ezek. 34:16).

Jericho lies next to the Jordan River, less than a day’s journey on foot down the road from Jerusalem. It was once a proud, pagan city. Israelite spies then checked it out. Joshua’s army marched around her walls for seven days, then the priests blew the trumpets while the people gave a mighty shout. The God of Israel had spoken, and by the breath of His power, Jericho’s walls came crashing down. Only Rahab the harlot, and her family were rescued and taken out safely. Many years later, it is on the road to Jericho where we hear about this same mighty Jesus, who once brought the walls of Jericho crashing to the ground, who heals the brokenhearted, restores sight to the blind and brings salvation to lost Israel. It is there, on the road to Jericho, where we too can see Jesus, as we travel there vicariously now.

The Bible tells us of a man called “blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus. . . [who] began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me” (v. 47). Can we see ourselves today, like this “blind Bartimaeus?”
You see, this man was a poor beggar, sitting by the wayside, on the road to Jericho, lost in a world of darkness. How many millions of Israelite “Christians” today grope in darkness, while they sit by the wayside of God’s great covenantal law, having heard of Jesus, yet like “blind Bartimaeus,” having never seen Him? This blind man could hear, but he could not see. His world of darkness had heightened his sense of hearing. Mental pictures formed in his mind at the slightest sound. Yet he lived in a lonely world of darkness. He had heard about Jesus. Even so, he yearned to see Jesus. Without his eyesight, he could only sit and beg. He could not see Jesus. Millions of Israelites in our world have heard about Jesus, but have never seen Him!

We were all born into blindness, the total darkness and depravity of original sin, which soon led us all into actual sins, the kind that Paul told us of when he exhorted:

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebr. 12:1).

It is on the road to Jericho that we learn that Jesus restored the eyesight of “blind Bartimaeus,” but only after this blind man cries out to Him. Jesus taught His disciples, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see. For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them” (Luk 10:23-24). Brother and sister, no matter if you were born to the purest Christian parents or to a wretched prostitute living in the gutter of life, when you see Jesus, you are born again. Salvation knows no rank in Israel! Jesus “came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). The Bible says that every man “cometh in with vanity, and departeth in darkness. . . [if] he hath not seen the sun” (Ecc 6:4). And: “Unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall” (Mal. 4:2). The same Jesus who restored sight to the eyes of “blind Bartimaeus” shall also “arise with healing in his wings.”

Can we see Him today? He tells us about another man who one day walked on the road to Jericho.

“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” (Luk 10:30). Who is this man? This man pictures modern Israel, who having lost the kingdom due to actual sin, now find themselves robbed, broken and left by the wayside half dead. All the wealth and power of the world today are poised against modern Biblical Israel, who is “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17), who knows not God in covenant relationship.

“And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side” (Luk 10:31).

“And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side” (v. 32).

The priest and the Levite represent all the preachers of Christendom. The robbed, wounded man is Israel. These preachers have largely forgotten the gospel of the kingdom which Jesus taught. They have abandoned Israel who is fallen in the wayside ditch, robbed through sin of Israel’s rightful inheritance, wounded of life and left half dead. These preachers stand aloof to Israel’s plight. Nearly every modern preacher has passed by distressed Israel, on the other side. Nearly every preacher has adopted a supercessionist theology, which replaces Bible Israel a new invention called “spiritual Israel.” Nearly every single preacher has transferred all the covenants and promises God gave to Israel in perpetuity, and appointed those promises to a watered down, insipid “gentile” church of every race, religion, creed and color! These preachers speak much of the name of Jesus. Even so, they do backwards flips while they apologize for the message of Jesus, who said: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matt. 15:24). “No, no!” the preachers cry! “We will not have this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14). They hate the message of Jesus, while they love their “gospel” of supercessionism, whereby God’s promises to Israel are transferred to the “gentile” church. It is only a paltry handful of ministers, who with that “certain Samaritan,” will have compassion and bring robbed, wounded and half dead Israel out of the wayside ditch, and into the promises of God, once again!

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him” (Luk 10:33). Who is this “certain Samaritan?” Jesus Christ is Israel’s great healer, “called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in” (Isa. 58:12), that “certain Samaritan,” who “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” (Luk 10:34).

“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” (v. 35).

The lesson of this great story becomes plain! When we see the brokenhearted, who will bind them up, as did that “certain Samaritan?” When we see one robbed and wounded, who will restore and offer healing? Not the priest or the levite, who passed by on the other side, too busy to get their hands dirty, too busy to faithfully follow the word of God. Today, these ministers have mostly abandoned Israel in theology and practice, even when they embrace the Jews falsely as “God’s chosen people.” We must not look to these preachers. We must not follow these “blind guides” (Matt. 23:24), of whom the Bible says: “they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber” (Isa. 56:10). They every one tell us about Jesus. They speak his name commonly. But how can they help us actually to see Jesus, when they have lost the very people He came to save? How can they teach us that “Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation” (Isa. 45:17), when they themselves don’t even believe that doctrine any more? No, we must look outside the pale of most establishment churches, if we are to see Jesus, who “hath visited and redeemed his people” (Luke 1:68).

We must look to that “certain Samaritan,” who had compassion. The Bible says it was Jesus, who “when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd” (Matt. 9:36). Jesus says he was sent “to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18). Yes, Jesus is that Good Samaritan, alleluia! He paid the two pence and much more, for our total healing. And he told us all: “Go, and do thou likewise” (Luk 10:37). “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (1John 3:17).

God have mercy on the priest and the levite, religious leaders, who passed by on the other side, who had no compassion upon the broken and wounded of Israel. Of these, Jesus said, “All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not” (Matt. 23:3).

To these, Jesus warns: “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20). These were men of Israel’s great hereditary religion, who had taught the covenants and the law, read the prophets and sung the Psalms since birth. They knew and preached from the Bible. They had grown up in the Judean faith. Yet, they “omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith” (Matt. 23:23). Even though they were children of the kingdom, Jesus said, “But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mat 8:12). How many preachers do you know to whom this applies?

You see, salvation is not hereditary. Salvation for the elect in Israel is a covenant all unto itself. It is not based on our having heard the truth, and obeyed in our own strength. This is the position of the Pharisee, who thanks God he is not like other men. Salvation is based on our coming to see Jesus, even as Job, who confessed in the end: “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6). Job had lived his life for God in his own strength until now, when he sees God. abhors himself, and finds regeneration. The evidence of that regeneration is that Job then prayed for his friends, that they too might see God in regeneration!

In these examples, we find the foundations of the New Covenant. For “in that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away” (Hebr. 8:13). “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (Hebr. 8:8). “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them” (Hebr. 10:16). That is made possible only “by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe” (Rom. 3:22). It is not enough to follow Jesus in the things we have heard about Him. It is not enough to make our “decision for Christ.” Our eyes must be opened in a spiritual regeneration of the heart. We must see him, abhor ourselves and let His faith reside is us through regeneration! We will then pray for our unsaved friends as never before!

Finally, it is on the road to Jericho that we find another prime example of a great eye opening regeneration. One day Jesus and his disciples were walking on the road to Jericho, and there came a man of very short stature, whose name was Zacchaeus.

“Jesus entered and passed through Jericho” (Luk 19:1).

“And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich” (v. 2).

This man was a hereditary Israelite, no question. Even so, he had two strikes against him already. He was a publican, even called “the chief among the publicans.” That means he was a rotten sinner, whom the religious leaders hated. Further, he was rich, strike two against him, because everyone knew that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:25). But, alleluia, Jesus leveled the playing field for all God’s elect, when he said: “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27). Yes, Zaccheaus had hope now, not because of his heredity lineage or his riches, but because in Israel the covenant of salvation knows no family or rank, praise God! He is no respecter of persons.

“And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature” (v. 3).

“And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way” (v. 4). Can we see the lesson of Job here in Zacchaeus?
Zacchaeus had heard about God, even lived a righteous life by his own human power. But he had not yet seen God until now. He wants so much to see Jesus, that he climbs a tall tree!

“And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house” (Luk 19:5). His eyes are finally opened, as were Job’s. Zacchaeus repents and is heart is finally regenerated. A new life vision in Christ was born. He allows Jesus to come into his life, who wants to “abide at thy house.”

Jesus dwells in his people. Jesus always does the choosing, the calling, and not the other way around. No “decision for Christ” is enough. Human decisions can be reneged upon, but “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Rom. 11:29). No man comes to God by his own free will. God’s sovereignty in election brings blind men to see Jesus, find healing and come to trust Him for salvation.

Here Jesus lives up to his own calling: “For I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matt. 9:13). Here is a sinner, Zacchaeus, and Jesus calls to him.

“And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully” (v. 6).

“And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner” (v. 7).

Isn’t that just like a Pharisee? Here they show their true colors, unhappy that Jesus is associating, not with them, but with a rotten sinner like this rich publican Zacchaeus!

“And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold” (v. 8).

Zacchaeus shows that he was a man who like Job, “feared God, and eschewed evil,” even went above and beyond the requirements of Israelite covenantal law. He showed that he had compassion. But none of this was enough, until on the road to Jericho, he finally came to see Jesus!

“And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham” (v. 9).

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (v. 10).

Here are three plain examples, which make one profound lesson. All are found on the road to Jericho. Christian, will you today heed the great lesson Jesus taught on the road to Jericho? If so, then, you will shine the light of Jesus Christ to open blind eyes, just as Jesus healed “blind Bartimaeus.” You will show compassion, when you find the broken hearted lying in the wayside ditch. When you find the wounded, you will pour in the oil and wine of God’s spirit and word. You will bind them up. You will give them your care and bring them the healing power of the Good Samaritan.

And you will rejoice when the “chief of the publicans,” comes to Jesus. You will see yourself as the despised publican, who “smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13).

Yes, you will find and follow Jesus, when you hear about Him, even walk in His footsteps, as he walked on the road to Jericho. There, Jesus reaches out to those who have heard and are crying out to Him, even as “blind Bartimaeus,” who desire with all their hearts to see Him. There, on the road to Jericho, the Good Samaritan reaches out, to heal abandoned Israel who are robbed through sin of their inheritance, wounded and left half dead. There on the road to Jericho, He calls sinners, even the “chief among the publicans,” who like Zacchaeus, seek to see Jesus with all their hearts. Christian, have you heard about Jesus? Then hear His voice today and see Him also, as did these three men of old, on the road to Jericho.
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