In our new series, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder takes us to the book of Joshua in which God chose Joshua to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River to the land God promised them. Some of you may be thinking that you don’t care about all those “Old Testament rules,” so this doesn’t have anything to do with you, right? However, Ben transitioned to a couple thousand years later and discussed John the Baptist, baptizing people in the Jordan River (Mark 1:4-5). We were reminded that the God of the Old Testament is the same God as in the New Testament. The Israelites had strayed from God since their journey across the Jordan River, and John was calling them to turn back to God. God is always faithful to keep his promises!
And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.
At the time John was baptizing the Israelites, they were mentally going back to the moment God led their ancestors across the river. They were acknowledging they had lost their way since then and were recommitting to follow God. It was a new beginning.
Remember Ben’s bottom line? “Life is better when you can relive meaningful moments.” Jesus recognized the importance of marking moments and reliving them. He was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist and designated John as the greatest man who had lived until his time (Matthew 11:11). They were cousins in the flesh—John would recognize Jesus and see with his own eyes the one he had been proclaiming.
13 Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?” 15 But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him.
In Jesus’ final words to his disciples, he gave the great commission, including the command for baptism. This was a call for followers of Jesus to mark their moment and relive what Jesus did on the cross for us. Baptism is both a picture of Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. It signifies our life of sin dying and our new life in Jesus beginning.
19 “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Are you spending regular time searching the Old and New Testaments for truth and direction? What times in your life do you consider to be “wilderness wanderings”? What valuable lessons did you learn during those times of struggle?
God gave the Bible to us because he wants us to know him, love him, and serve him. Most of all, he gave it to us so we can become more like Christ. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Only then will you be prosperous and successful (Joshua 1:8). Make the Bible part of your life, join a Group, be a DreamTeam member—begin today.
Fill out the Friday’s section of the Summer Side of Life Journal.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the example and command of baptism. It teaches us the importance of marking the significant moment of salvation in our lives. It also shows us the importance of sharing this moment with others. Help me this week to be bold and share my meaningful moments with others and to point others to you whenever I have the chance.
This post was written by Gary Schnabel, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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