15 April, 2024

March 19 | Application (‘The Lowest Point on Earth’)

by | 13 March, 2023 | 0 comments

By David Faust  

In Jesus’ story about the Good Samaritan it was no coincidence he said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho” (Luke 10:30). Jericho is located down by the Dead Sea, approximately 1,400 feet below sea level. Residents of Jericho have turned their low elevation into a marketing opportunity, proudly labeling their city “The Lowest Place on Earth.” A sign near the beach at the Dead Sea invites customers to buy a drink at “The Lowest Juice Bar on Earth.” 

Living in Low Places 

Moral Low. Joshua 2 tells about a prostitute named Rahab who lived by Jericho’s city wall. She was hardly a paragon of virtue, but this morally flawed woman recognized the Lord was with the Israelites and risked her life by hiding two spies. A scarlet-colored cord in the window identified her house so the invading soldiers would spare her family. The New Testament lifts up Rahab as a positive example of faith (Hebrews 11:31) and obedience (James 2:25), and she appears in Jesus’ genealogy as an ancestor of the Messiah (Matthew 1:5).  

Physical Low. Centuries after Rahab, a blind man named Bartimaeus lived in Jericho, and his physical condition brought him down. Unable to see or work, he sat by the roadside begging until Jesus told him, “‘Go, . . . your faith has healed you.’ Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road” (Mark 10:52)—the same road where he used to beg.  

Social Low. Zacchaeus was short in stature, but not short on funds. His job as a chief tax collector earned him a lucrative income but made him a social outcast in Jericho. Determined to see the Lord, Zacchaeus climbed a tree, and to everyone’s surprise, Jesus called him by name and invited himself to dinner at the tax collector’s house. Jesus transformed Zacchaeus from a taker to a giver, from a cheater to a benefactor, from a social outcast to a member of God’s family. 

Circumstantial Low. To this day, the road to Jericho isn’t a safe place to hike by yourself at night. In Jesus’ story in Luke 10, that road became a crime scene where thieves attacked a traveler and left him half dead. Unwilling to get involved, religious leaders walked past the wounded man, but a good Samaritan stepped in to provide kindness and care. 

When you find yourself in low places—morally, physically, relationally, or circumstantially—the God of grace is able to repair your “broken walls” and restore what seems ruined (Amos 9:11).  

Stepping Down from High Places 

Near Jerusalem today you can see the remains of Herodium (also known as Herodian). King Herod’s workers built him an elaborate, well-fortified mountaintop palace there complete with gardens, pools, and a theatre. The imposing fortress towers over the valley below, with Bethlehem a short distance away. Standing on the hilltop at Herodium, with the wind whistling past my face, I thanked the Lord for his willingness to step down from high places.  

Jesus wasn’t born in a mountaintop palace. He came down to the valley, to a Bethlehem manger. To restore us, Christ stepped down to the lowest place on earth. “He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8). Whatever circumstances bring you down, the Lord’s invitation remains: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (James 4:10). 

Personal Challenge: What has been dragging you down lately? Meditate on 1 Peter 5:6-7 and give your worries to the Lord. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 

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