Devotion and Prayer for Week of January 12. 2014

Meditation for the week January 12, 2014

 

“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand…   Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.  John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”  But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.  (Matthew 3:1-2, 13-15)

 

The Jordan River was very important to the people of Israel.  It marked the boundary of the Promised Land, the border between God’s land and the wilderness.  When the people of Israel were brought out of slavery in Egypt, they wandered in the wilderness until the Lord brought them across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land.

It’s no mistake that John was preaching in the wilderness.  He was calling the people of Israel to return the wilderness and try coming into the Promised Land once more.  John called the people of his day to acknowledge that they needed to repent, to start over.  It wasn’t enough just to repent in their head or in their heart, but must physically leave their homes and go back to the wilderness.

Once they were in the wilderness, the people were to be baptized in the Jordan River and enter the Promised Land once more.  They were to look to the Lord for a new start in life.  Crowds of people listened to John’s call, and came to be baptized in the Jordan River.

Among those who came to be baptized was Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ had no need to be baptized.  He didn’t need to enter the wilderness.  He didn’t need a new start.  This is why John was so confused.  Jesus didn’t belong here.

But Jesus chose to be here.  Jesus chose to join with His repentant people in the wilderness.  He chose to join them in the waters of the Jordan River.  He chose to lead His people back into the Promised Land.

And this is true for you, too.  You need to make a fresh, new start.  Every day you need to repent and be brought back into the Lord’s presence.  And this is not something that you do on your own.  Jesus goes with you.  Jesus leads you.

Jesus not only goes into the wilderness across the Jordan, but to the wilderness of Calvary, the wilderness of death itself.  His baptism is His death on the cross, as He enters the waters once more.  But Jesus comes through safely on the other side, and so will you.  One day you will enter the wilderness of death, but you will not go there alone.  Jesus will go with you.  And He will lead you safely across the Jordan to the Promised Land of everlasting life.

 

Our Weekly Prayer 

Father in heaven, at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan You proclaimed Him Your beloved Son and anointed Him with the Holy Spirit.  Make all who are baptized into Christ faithful in their calling to be Your children and inheritors with Him of everlasting life; through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.