WHEN YOU STAY ON HIGHWAY OF HOLINESS NO EVIL SHALL COME UPON YOU
Preacher: Felix Ngunjiri
Reading: Isaiah 35:8-9
Jesus used a parable to answer a certain lawyer who wanted to know who a neighbour is. He told him of a certain nameless person, assumed to be a Jew, who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. “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. 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. 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. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two denarii, 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. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:3037). Jerusalem is located up in the mountains while Jericho is down there by river Jordan. Jerusalem symbolizes a place of safety, holiness, righteousness, deliverance, God’s favour and salvation. Jericho on the other hand is symbolic of a city of wickedness that had been cursed by Joshua (Joshua 6:17). The nameless man may have been lured to that wicked city by curiosity. The moment the nameless person abandoned the place of divine protection and descended to the wicked city of Jericho, he was attacked by robbers, stripped of his belongings, wounded and left half dead.
Jericho, the Lowest City on Earth The elevation of Jericho is 260 meters below sea level making it the lowest city on earth. Jericho city is about 30 kilometres northwest of Jerusalem and there are more Jews than Samaritans on that road. In that parable, Jesus wanted to show how a despised Samaritan could have gone out of his way to show compassion for Jews who were alleged to have hatred for the Samaritans.
Fake Pastors and Quack Preachers According to the parable, the wounded Jewish man was a victim of thuggery and highway robbery and he lay half dead at the side of the road. There is an actual location along the dangerous road from Jerusalem to Jericho known as The Valley of the Shadow of Death mentioned by David in Psalm 23. According to the parable, a priest who ministers in the church and highly respected as an anointed preacher passed by but decided that since he was in a hurry to attend to a church function in Jericho, he ignored the injured man and justified himself by mumbling something that sounded like “let the dead bury their own dead.” Similarly, another man of cloth passed by, curiously looked at the injured man’s face and when he did not recognize him as a member of his church, he dismissed him and hastened his pace lest the same gangsters who attacked the dying man might descend on him. The religious people would have been expected to be the first people to show compassion for a wounded person lying by the side of a road half dead. Do they not tell us that they have a calling to serve God who is ever merciful? Where has mercy and compassion gone to in this present generation? The Lord has a few words against such self-styled merciless fake pastors. “Nevertheless I have some things against you church because you have left your firstlove. Remember therefore from where you are fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto you quickly, and will remove your candlestick out of its place, except you repent.” (Revelation 2:4-5) They have some form of godliness but deny His power. The unmerciful who already know the judgement of God, are urged to repent for being “heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Tim 3:4-5) They better repent or they will be in danger of judgement. “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17).
Wounded Man’s Upkeep Prepaid by Two Full Days’ Wage
Jesus tells through the parable how a despised Samaritan dared to dress the wounds of a wounded Jew and then carry him on his donkey to a hotel. The following day he paid two denarii to the inn keeper for his upkeep and promised to pay what else he shall have used above that prepayment when he comes back. Two denarii were equivalent to a two full day’s wage. But why did Jesus use two, and not three or four denarii to explain the prepayment? Why did the Good Samaritan prepay for only two full day’s wage? Probably he planned to come back any time after two days and pay for whatever else might have been spent more than what he had prepaid. The Good Samaritan is Jesus Christ whom you despise, ignore and take for granted. The Jericho road is this wicked world we live in. The injured man is you. The thieves are the devil and his demons. We are attacked on every side by the devil. “Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:9) [KJV]. We are living under the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. “We are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:15). “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen” (Romans 16:20). It can be argued that our stay here on earth is prepaid by a two days’ wage. Jesus might have hinted of His intention to come back after two days to get us to Himself so that where He is, we might be there also. But nobody knows about the second coming of our Lord except Our Father who is in heaven. How long is two days according Biblical calculations? “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8). When He comes at a time unknown to us, shall we be ready to show Him our gratitude for saving us from death. We were destined to die at the Valley of the Shadow of Death but He came in time and saved us.
There is a Better Road
As you contemplate going down the Jericho Road, remember that there is a better road, the Emmaus Road, much better than that which passes through the valley of the shadow of death. In the book of Luke 24:13 two of Christ’s followers, among them Cleophas, were walking towards Emmaus talking of the breaking news of the day of how Jesus Christ had resurrected. “Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?” “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread” (Luke 24:13-35). Jesus joined them when He realized that they were talking about Him. “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). When you start talking about the resurrected Christ and how he is seated in glory on the right hand of God in heaven, Christ Himself will join you and dine with you.
Lions and Beasts Will not be Found on the Road to Emmaus
When you are walking with someone on a journey, you can decide to talk politics or soccer or gossip and nothing else will happen other than the talk. But the moment you start talking to someone about the Risen Christ, you draw God’s attention and Jesus Christ Himself will join you and walk with you because you are extending His kingdom here on earth. When two or more people start walking on the Emmaus Road glorifying God, Jesus Christ will join them there on that highway of Holiness and “And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there on that road, no robbers will attack you there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up there on, it shall not be found there; but only the redeemed shall walk there” (Isaiah 35:8-9).
The highway of holiness is out of bound to the unclean, the fools, lions, ravenous beasts. None of them shall be found there. The way of holiness shall be for the righteous, the redeemed, the delivered, the faithful, the called, and no enemy shall be found there and their protection is guaranteed as long as they are walking on the highway of holiness. As long as they are walking hand in hand with God in the form of the Holy Spirit, no evil shall come upon them.
“Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge—no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” (Ps 91:9-11 [ESV2011])
As long as you are walking on the way of holiness of course with the Holy One of Israel, no evil will be allowed to come upon you. You are untouchable. Even if a serpent bites you, you will not fall down but the beast is the one that will fall down to the fire.
“And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita. And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.” (Acts 28:1-6 [KJV])
Even if you drink poison, it shall not harm you as long as you are walking on the way of holiness hand in hand with the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus said to His disciples, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15-18 [ESV2011])
As long as you stay on the path of holiness and righteousness, no evil or plague or pestilence or calamity shall come upon you. AS long as you make Lord to be your refuge and your fortress and trust in Him, “He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” (Ps 91:3-4 [KJV])
As long as you stay on the path of holiness and righteousness “You shall tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because you hath set your love upon Him, therefore will He deliver you: He will set you on high, because He hath known your name. You shall call upon Him, and He will answer you: He will be with you in trouble; He will deliver you, and honour you. With long life will He satisfy you, and shew you His salvation.” (Ps 91:13-16 [KJV])