“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) Encounters at Jericho (Mark Mayberry)
2) Preparing for the Storm (Greg Gwin)
Encounters at Jericho
Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary offers the following description of Jericho: It is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. Situated in the wide plain of the Jordan Valley (Deut. 34:1, 3) at the foot of the ascent to the Judean mountains, Jericho lies about 8 miles northwest of the site where the Jordan River flows into the Dead Sea, some 5 miles west of the Jordan.
Since it is approximately 800 feet below sea level, Jericho has a climate that is tropical and at times is very hot. Only a few inches of rainfall are recorded at Jericho each year; but the city is a wonderful oasis, known as “the city of palm trees” (Deut. 34:3) or “the city of palms” (Judg. 3:13). Jericho flourishes with date palms, banana trees, balsams, sycamores, and henna (Song 1:14; Luke 19:4).
There have been three different Jerichos throughout its long history. Old Testament Jericho is identified with the mound of Tell esSultan, a little more than a mile from the village of er-Riha. This village is modern Jericho, located about 17 miles northeast of Jerusalem. New Testament Jericho is identified with the mounds of Tulul Abu el-‘Alayiq, about a mile west of modern Jericho and south of Old Testament Jericho.
By far the most imposing site of the three is Old Testament Jericho, a pear-shaped mound about 400 yards long, north to south, 200 yards wide at the north end, and some 70 yards high. It has been the site of numerous archaeological diggings and is a favorite stop for Holy Land tourists [Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, s.v. “Jericho”].
The city of Jericho, first mentioned in connection with the conquest of Canaan, symbolizes divine judgment and mercy (Num. 33:50-56; Josh. 6:1-5; Heb. 11:30).
The Faith of Rahab
The faith of Rahab was evident when she protected the spies and pledged her loyalty to the God of Israel (Josh. 2:1-24; 6:17, 22-25). Accordingly, she is praised in the New Testament as an example of obedient faith (Heb. 11:30-31; James 2:24-26).
The Faith of Israel
The faith of Israel was evident as, in obedience to the Lord’s commandment, they marched around the city once a day for six days, and seven times on the seventh day (Josh. 6:2-21; Heb. 11:30-31).
The Failure of Achan
The failure of Achan occurred when, in disobedience to God’s command, he took of the spoils of Jericho, i.e., items that had been placed under ban and should have been given into the treasury of the Lord (Josh. 6:17-19; 7:1). As a result, he brought defeat to the army of Israel (Josh. 7:2-15) and destruction upon his own house (Josh. 7:16-26).
The Folly of Hiel
After the destruction of Jericho, Joshua made all Israel take an oath, saying, “Cursed before the Lord is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with the loss of his firstborn he shall lay its foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son he shall set up its gates” (Josh. 6:26- 27). Centuries later, in the dark days of Ahab’s reign, Hiel the Bethelite rebuilt Jericho, laying its foundations with the loss of his firstborn, and setting up its gates with the loss of his youngest son (1 Kings 16:29-34).
The Baptism of Jesus
The baptism of Jesus likely occurred in the vicinity of Jericho (Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:29-34).
The Temptation of Jesus
Afterwards, our Lord was tempted by the devil in the nearby wilderness of Judea (Matt. 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13).
The Ministry of Jesus
Herein, we focus upon Jesus’ encounters at Jericho: first, in healing the blind man/men, next, in teaching on the necessity of brotherly love, and finally, in converting a most unlikely prospect.
Giving Sight to the Blind: The Lord’s mercy and might were manifested in the healing of the blind man/men at Jericho (Matt. 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43). The blind repeatedly cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him. Such miraculous power demonstrated that Jesus was from above (Matt. 11:2-6; John 10:19-21).
Teaching Neighborly Responsibility: In the parable of the Good Samaritan, occurring on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, Jesus makes practical application to the second greatest commandment: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:25-37; cf. Deut. 6:4-9; Lev. 19:18). The New Testament repeatedly emphasizes this important principle (Matt. 5:43-48; 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34; Rom. 13:8-10; Gal. 5:13-15; James 2:8-9).
Seeking and Saving the Lost: The conversion of Zaccheus, chief tax collector in the district, affirms the universality of the gospel, and the necessity of our bearing fruit in keeping with repentance (Luke 19:1-10; cf. 3:7-9; 13:22-30; 1 Cor. 6:9-11).
Recognizing that whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope, let us learn from these examples, emulating the faith of Israel and Rahab, avoiding the failure of Achan and the folly of Hiel (Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11).
May we also benefit from Jesus’ encounters at Jericho. Recognizing His mercy and might, let us be thankful that He gives sight to the blind (Rev. 3:17-22). Making proper application of His parable of the Good Samaritan, let us “Go and do the same” (Rom. 13:9-10). Following the example of Zaccheus, let us likewise be converted; following the example of our Lord, let us also endeavor to seek and save the lost (Acts 3:19-26).
— Via Truth Magazine, November 24, 2013
Preparing for the Storm
We’ve seen it many times: the report on the news tells of a big storm approaching. Predictions are made of wide spread damage and devastation. Images of people boarding up their homes and evacuating threatened areas flash across the screen. But, did you notice? The sun is usually shining brightly while all of this is taking place. The skies are wonderfully blue. Why all the fuss? The answer is simple, of course. You can’t wait until the storm hits to make your preparations. So, while the storm is yet hours, even days away; the necessary precautions are being taken.
There’s an important spiritual lesson to be learned from this. Life is a constant cycle of periods of relative calm followed by often violent storms. It is essential that we prepare for these turbulent times, even when it appears for the moment that all is well. If we wait for the storm to hit, it will be too late! Jeremiah said, “If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace, how will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?” (12:5). His point is an obvious one. If you can’t stand firm when the going is easy, you’ll never make it when the going gets tough.
Our strength for living comes to us through the Bible. It provides the “power” for our salvation (Rom 1:16), and gives us hope which is a sure “anchor of the soul” even in the raging tempest of life (Heb. 6:19). The question is: are you using it, learning it, so that you can endure the coming storms? Think!
— Via The Beacon, July 7, 2015
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21)
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
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Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/go (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)
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