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Jesus in Jericho

Jericho is an ancient city ten miles northwest of where the Jordan River enters the Dead Sea and has an elevation of one thousand feet below sea level. Excavations date the earliest settlements to around 8,500 B.C. making it one of the oldest cities in the entire world! Its name probably comes from the Hebrew word yerah, which means moon or month. Early inhabitants undoubtedly worshiped the moon god, who they felt controlled both the cycles of the moon, and the agricultural seasons.

Jesus in Jericho

It is first mentioned in Scriptures as it connects to the advance of Israel into Canaan. It said that they camped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan and opposite Jericho. It is considered one of the most famous Biblical locations in history. Jericho was an active city near the Jordan River when Jesus Christ came through. While there, he taught and healed people who had faith in him, helping them with both physical blindness and spiritual need. In Mark, 10:46-52, Jesus interacts in Jericho with a blind man names Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus. Bartimaeus is sitting by the highway begging when he hears that Jesus of Nazareth has come through. He asks Jesus to help to restore his sight, and Jesus says that his faith has made him whole again. He immediately receives his sight, and Jesus goes on his way.

Other Incidents in Jericho

Jericho is also mentioned in a few more places that relate to Jesus. Jesus was said to have been entertained by Zaccheus in Jericho (19:1-8). Jericho is also mentioned in the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30 which explains that robbers have often terrorized the road that goes from Jerusalem to Jericho. Jesus talks about a "Good Samaritan" and it is likely that this reference was made about the road to Jericho, and that the inn where the Samaritan took the Jewish victim was located in Herodian Jericho, which was safely off the road.

Two Jerichos?

According to Historians, there were actually two Jerichos during Jesus' time. There was Jericho and Herodian Jericho. This is reflected in the differences in the accounts of healing two blind men in Matt, Mark and Luke. Matthew and Mark both describe Jesus' encounter with Barimaeus when they are leaving Jericho, but Luke explains that it happened when they were approaching Jericho. This discrepancy may be explained by the idea that he healed them after leaving the first Jericho while approaching Herodian's Jericho.

While Jericho is not the most important place to visit on a pilgrimage to see Jesus' holy sites, it is certainly one place that Jesus was said to have been. Jericho is historically significant for many reasons, one of which is Jesus' affiliation there.

 


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