Friday, September 19, 2008

Rising

This week in my New Testament classes we discussed the baptism of Jesus Christ. I don't remember much about my baptism, but over the years I've pondered a lot on the symbolism of baptism—being buried in the water and coming forth again a new creature. The idea of the old person dying and being buried (the one that sins and is miserable) and being born again into a new life of joy and happiness is so beautiful. The problem is that so often we forget that it is possible. We wallow in misery needlessly because we think we need to do it all ourselves. Instead we simply need to submit to Christ and let Him raise us up to joy and happiness.

I've been studying the ways to do this lately and am surprised at how easy they are. I'll write more on that later, but for now I'll just say that one of the adversary's greatest lies is that it is difficult.

As I studied the Savior's baptism this week I was reminded of all this. John tells us in John 1:28 that Jesus was baptized in the Jordan river at a place called Bethabara. Bethabara means "house of crossing" and tradition tells us that it is the place where Joshua led the Children of Israel across the Jordan into Jericho. The Hebrew form of the Greek name Jesus is the same as Joshua. Thus we have two Joshuas. The first Joshua physically led the way so his people could cross the waters of Jericho into the Promised Land. The second Joshua spiritually led the way for all people to cross the waters of baptism into the Promised Land of the celestial kingdom.

But there is more to the symbolism. The Jordan river at Bethabara is just a few miles north of the Dead Sea and happens to be the lowest fresh-water point on the face of the earth. So Jesus Christ, a God who condescended to come to earth to save us, was baptized at the lowest place on the earth. What this underscores for me is the fact that He descended below all things so that we could rise above all. That is love.

3 comments:

Wendi said...

Thanks for the encouraging post. And for sharing the interesting symbolism. I always learn a lot when I read your blog.

Laresa said...

Thank you so much for the beautiful post. One day I really had to have Heavenly Father's help. I completely asked for his help and it was a very minor thing but a little still small voice whispered "thank you for asking". I will never ever forget that day. This post reminded me more of that special day.

The Edwards Family said...

Great insight...I love the way you read between the lines Dr/Sister. You have an amazing mind. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. love it!!