Scripture Of The Week

They were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Matt. 3:6

The Jordan River stretches 70 miles between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, and it is Israel’s eastern border separating them from both Syria and Jordan. Many significant events in history took place there.  It was by the Jordan River that the Israelites renewed their covenant with God before entering the Promised Land after the wilderness wanderings in the Old Testament.  As our text deals with, it’s also where John the Baptist called the Israelites to show their repentance through baptism.

The word “Baptizo”, in the Greek language, the language of the New Testament, means “to dip” or “to immerse” or “to plunge under”. The Jews of John’s time understood baptism to signify one’s change of life and heart toward God. This bold move signified that the people wanted to change their lives and wanted to follow God more fully, hence repentance. And it should, then, show this desire to follow God through a transformed life. When Jesus came and died and rose from the grave, it was then that baptism took on the significance of not only repentance, but of having our sins washed away and our union with Jesus Christ.

Remember that in baptism, as we unite with Jesus and “the old man is taken off” and “the new man is put on”, that involves also the understanding that we are made into a new creation through Jesus Christ – where old things are gone, and all things are made new. Let that truth make a difference this week in our lives, our praying, our worship, in our service.

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