How civilised we are


roman road

“apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order… what have the Romans done for us
Monty Python’s Life of Brian

Under Roman occupation one of the improvements to the infrastructure of First Century Palestine was the road system. They were widened and made stronger so they could accommodate more pedestrians, animals and carriages. Hundreds of years down the line our roads are on the ground and in the air. Bicycles, scooters, cars and public transport have made best use of the infrastructure available and government is put under pressure to improve it further.

Travel in Jesus’ day was done on foot – perhaps a donkey if you were wealthy. Two thousand years ago someone might cover twenty miles in a day; tomorrow morning I’ll be covering double that in twenty-five minutes.

Pilgrimages were done in huge groups of family and friends. It took Jesus’ parents a day to notice that he was not with them when they left Jerusalem (Luke 2:44). Today nuclear families lock themselves into their cars to make their pilgrimages: to church, to school, to grandparents, on holiday.

Is it any wonder that in trying to find a correlation between Jesus’ travels and my own I draw a blank?


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