By Ian Robinson, Major
A few days ago we were traveling by bus on the King’s Highway, an ancient spice route that stretches from Egypt to Damascus.
The Bible’s first mention of the highway is Numbers 20:17, when Moses sends a message to the King of Edom announcing that he and the future nation of Israel, having escaped from Egypt, would “travel along the king’s highway and not turn to the right or to the left until we have passed through your territory.” The King of Edom refused and Moses had to take another route.
The highway’s name may have originated in Genesis 14 when Lot was taken captive by a coalition of kings who overcame and looted the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. After learning of the abduction of his nephew, Abraham and his 318 trained men pursued the four kings all the way to Damascus to rescue Lot and recover the loot. This involved a journey of several hundred miles over a rough, dusty path from the arid desert of southern Jordan to the lush and fertile north.
Traveling the now well-paved road in reverse from north to south, we saw Bedouins living in tents much as they have for thousands of years. Camels and shepherds with flocks dotted the landscape and as the sun broke through the clouds it seemed only natural for Majors Dusty and Shelley Hill to break into song:
“Travel along in the sunshine,
On the King’s Highway;
Travel along, singing this song…”
Their lovely voices trailed off when no one else on the bus joined in. Maybe they didn’t know the song. Or maybe they were too tired to catch the mood. What a shame—it could have been a beautiful memory.
Later in the week we travelled along another “King’s Highway,” the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, supposedly the route taken by Jesus as he carried his cross to Calvary. Traversing it is one of the most important things that Christian pilgrims do while visiting the city. I had imagined it as a long, lonely passage over a dusty Roman road, but it is actually a series of narrow lanes twisting and turning through a crowded marketplace thronged with tourists and locals. All along the way stallholders beckon you to come in, look and buy, seemingly oblivious to their position on the road the Savior walked to his death. The route has changed many times over the centuries but always ends at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the traditional sites of Jesus’ tomb.
It made me think of the “King’s Highway of Life” that many of us travel. Isaiah described it as the “Highway of Holiness,” which is only for those who walk in God’s ways; fools will never walk there (Isaiah 35:8 NLT). The Easter story reminds us that Christ walked his Via Dolorosa so that he could be put to death as an atonement sacrifice for our sins.
Fortunately it doesn’t end at the cross or the tomb. The story also tells us that after three days in the tomb Jesus rose from the dead so that we would have the promise of eternal life if we are willing to acknowledge him as our Lord and Savior. That’s the glory of Easter!
You, too, can travel along on the King’s Highway of Holiness to that eternal home in heaven by asking Christ into your heart. Would you like to join me today so that we can walk together?