Down the Road and Up the Hill
Verse 30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.
Today we start our excavating one of the most popular and well known parables of the Bible – The Good Samaritan.
This road between Jerusalem and Jericho was a rough one. First off Jerusalem sits at 2500 feet above sea level and Jericho sits at 825 below sea level. That is a steep road. And in Jesus’ time this was not a finished road. Because of the differences of elevation the vegetation was more plentiful on the Jerusalem end of the trip.
Despite the hard to navigate grade of the road, it was a semi-popular route. This lawyer that Jesus was talking to had likely taken a trip down the road himself. Obviously the trip down to Jericho would be less physically taxing since it is downhill. The greatest danger was being mugged.
Jesus and His disciples took this road when they headed to Jerusalem for the triumphant entrance and their last Passover with Jesus. Jesus knew what was coming in their lives. This long, uphill walk was their final long journey before His death. Although it wasn’t on this last journey that Jesus told this parable it is possible that the disciples would remember this parable as they walked this road. They just didn’t understand the significance of Jesus taking this walk on the same road.
Physically Jesus was headed the opposite direction as our victim. He was taking His disciples up the 3325 feet incline to the pinnacle of His earthly life. But to the disciples this was just any other journey with Jesus. While the victim in our story was beaten and left half dead because of the robbers, Jesus would be beaten and led half dead up another hill so He could hang between robbers. The religious leaders passed our beaten victim and yet similar leaders led Jesus to be murdered. Our Lord and Savior knew that He was headed up that hill for more than the Passover but to be the Passover Lamb. And He wasn’t just going to be the sacrifice for the Jews but also the Samaritans, other Gentiles and even us. He gave us the greatest example of loving our neighbor. He willingly laid down His life for us.
Making It Personal
What does it mean to you that Jesus gave His life for you? What does that example show you about loving our neighbors? What are you willing to sacrifice for your neighbors?
Making It Personal Kids
Which is easier, going uphill or downhill? Which is easier, being nice to a friend or to someone who isn’t a friend? What did Jesus tell us to do about being nice to people?
Father, thank You for being willing to send Your Son to walk the hill of Calvary for us. Thank You for showing us what it really means to love our neighbor. In Jesus’ name, amen.