6 September 2023 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“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.”
(Isaiah 35:8; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
I am addressing four different roads of the Bible in this devotion though there are many more in addition. Actually, life itself is a road that leads to one of two destinies – the Narrow Road to the Gates of Heaven, or to the only other destination, the arches of Hell. That Road has many tributaries, and I intend to describe four of them – the Road to Jericho, the Road to Emmaus, the Road to Calvary (via Dolorosa), and the Road to Damasus. Each are distinctive in many points and, yet, similar in others.
Our first Road of note is that on the way to Jericho from Jerusalem. It is a parable of our Lord that lays out the ultimate and perfect example of the duties and compassions of a Christian – one which very well illustrates the character of Lord and His love for us. A Jewish man is robbed on the downward road from Jerusalem and left for dead. His own people deny any assistance to him – even religious workers, but a Samaritan, whom the Jews hated, came up the road and saw the man and cared for him with all the compassion a human heart could muster. He even allowed the man to ride on his own beast as he carried him to a familiar inn. He continued to care for the man at the inn not simply dumping him as a burden to the inn-keeper. Still having pressing business in Jerusalem, He pays the inn-keeper two days pay to continue caring for the man and, if more was required, he would pay him more on his return. This truly outlines the ways that love and compassion compel God’s people to follow the example of the Savior. The Samaritan declares that he is coming again just like our Lord Jesus Christ will do after leaving His Church in the hands of His ministers and people. This is the road of Love and compassion that characterizes every person that bears his cross and follows Christ.
Our next Road is that of the Road to Emmaus on which two disheartened disciples sorrowfully walked on the first day of the week following the crucifixion of their Lord. What could have been more devastating to these two than to see their expectation and hopes dashed in a single day by such a dastardly deed as the crucifixion. They were devastated and forlorn. Had they believed his words of prophecy concerning Himself, their sorrow would not have been so paralyzing. In their state of mind, all hope was gone and nothing remained for them. It is at such times of hopeless despair that the Lord is closest – as a matter of fact, walking right beside them. He counseled the two of all written of Him in Holy Scripture. Arriving AT THEIR HOMES, THEY INSISTED THAT He come into their homes and “abide” with them. At the breaking of bread, their eyes were opened to know Him as their resurrected Lord. The same happens every day to some disheartened Christian for whom the Lord opens new life and vision. This is the Road of Revelation.
The next is the Via Dolorosa, or the Road of Sorrows on which the Lord carried His cross to Golgotha. It is the Road of seemingly greatest despair to the blinded mind; yet, this Road assured us of the greatest hope of all for redemption in Christ and a life eternal with Him. It was a necessary Road that not only led to the cross, but to the grave – to resurrection and ascension making the same possible for us who having also taken up our crosses and followed on the same Road of Self-denial and Sacrifice. This is the Road of Sacrifice.
Our last Road is that of the Road to Damascus on which Saul of Tarsus embarked on a mission to destroy the churches of Damascus and bring the members in chains to Jerusalem for condemnation to the same fate as Stephen. In fact, Saul (Paul) had been the perpetrator of that stoning of Stephen. Saul was knocked to the ground and blinded by the Light of Christ. He had to be blinded before He could see with spiritual eyes – don’t we all! It was the Road of Calling for Saul whom the Lord renamed Paul. It is good that the Lord gave him a new name else he would have born the unbearable shame of past deeds to the grave. He will give all a new name written on a white stone in glory so that no one can attach any sinful report to us. Most of us have experienced this profound awakening to the call of God like that of Saul. We will call this the Road of Calling.
We are subject to traveling these roads, but the two that are essential are that of the Good Samaritan and the Road of Sacrifice and Mercy.
Each is found on the Narrow Way that leads up.