God Has Gone First
Luke 10:30-37; 18:35-43; 19:1-10
Mount of Temptation
Jerusalem (Genesis welcome)
Jericho is familiar to Christians from both the Old and New Testaments. From very ancient times, it was a gateway city into the Promised Land from the east. Yahweh directed the Israelites to begin their occupation of Canaan by defeating Jericho first (Joshua 6). Centuries later, Herod the Great had a palace and estate not far from the city mound that Joshua and the Israelites conquered, and according to the Gospels, Jesus traveled to and from Jericho during his ministry.
The miraculous fall of Jericho brought about by the collapse of its defensive walls and the subsequent invasion by the Israelites under Joshua invites us to reflect on a deep truth about our faith. At Jericho in those days, God showed his people that the fulfillment of God’s promises did not rest on them. They did not have to achieve or earn God’s faithfulness. It was a given, and the people of God were called to live in that reality and to trust it.
This is what grace is all about. This has been a pattern of God’s from the beginning. God is faithful, always. God has accomplished deliverance for us by grace. We then live in that grace by faith. We do not have to earn this faithfulness, only trust it.
Every fallen mudbrick from the ancient Canaanite fortifications that we see at Jericho testifies to the walk of faith to which God’s people of every age are called. We walk this walk not in order to coax God’s faithfulness on our behalf, but because it has already been given and guaranteed.