As we move chronologically through the life of Jesus, we next come to his baptism in the Jordan River.
I thought much more about the significance of the Jordan River today than I think I have ever thought about it. The Jordan River is obviously a very important source of water for Israel, but it is also a very important part of many Bible stories.
- It is believed that Jesus was baptized at the same location where Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan River (which was miraculously stopped for them) to take possession of the promised land.
- Elijah and Elisha left Jericho and went down to the Jordan River (where it was miraculously stopped for them) and then Elijah was taken up into heaven.
- John the Baptist (the “Elijah” who was to come) publicly baptized people in the Jordan River in this same location. When he baptized Jesus in the Jordan River, the heavens were opened and God spoke out loud, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
As we sat in the banks of the Jordan River, watching people get baptized, we read from the gospel of Matthew concerning Jesus’ baptism. We were reminded that this was a special place.
It was a place of transition for Jesus. He was officially transitioning out of a life of carpentry and in to a life of making disciples and performing miracles.
It was a place of clear calling. There was no question on his mind about what he was called to do. The Father had made it clear.
It was a place of Holy Spirit supremacy. The Sprit led him to be baptized. The Spirit also then led him into the wilderness to be tempted for 40 days.
We will soon be making our way to the Judean wilderness to walk several miles through the Wadi Qelt, which is a path that extends from Jerusalem to Jericho.
Before we do that, though, we will be stopping for lunch and to jump in to the Dead Sea.