Going the Distance: Remembering My Baptism

jordan river

 

When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He  saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.  And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  Matthew 3:16-17

This past week at church was “Remember Your Baptism” Sunday, a time to reflect and remember our baptism and what it means for our relationship with Jesus.  It is also a time to remember the Baptism of Jesus.  I always love this time each year.  I have fond memories of my baptism.  I was 8 years old and I was baptized by one of the most godly men I have ever known, Pastor Jack Snell, at Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church.  Growing up in that tradition, I was “dunked” as they say.  It did not occur to me until years later that the process of that total immersion into the water takes great trust.  I was putting my trust in Dr. Snell to gently place me into the water and then get me up and out of the water again.  Faith in God is like that too, isn’t it?  The baptism we complete outwardly is really just an expression of what has taken place inwardly…a total surrender to God, putting our complete trust in Him!

Of course, this year, falling on the heels of my trip to Israel, “Remember Your Baptism” Sunday took quite a different meaning.  While we were touring the region near the Southern tip of the Galilean Sea, we were given the opportunity to “remember our baptism” in the Jordan River!  At first I was hesitant.  In all honesty, it seemed a little gimmicky.  You walk through a gift shop, pay $10, get a white robe and actually walk through a turnstile and down a ramp to get to the water.  A turnstile?  Really?  There are a lot of tourist traps in Israel and I was trying not to be suckered into everything.

But then I got to thinking…remembering.  Jesus, God’s one and only Son, the Messiah, was baptized in THIS river!  At a point in time, he stepped off the banks and into the water.  It was this place, or somewhere near here, that Jesus said “I surrender all” as John lowered Him into the water and brought Him out again.  I thought about the fact that I could feel the same water that Jesus felt.  As I would be lifted out of the water, I would see the same sky that He saw.  But the thing that excited me the most, overwhelmed me (yes, I know, I have already been overwhelmed a lot on this trip haven’t I!?), was thinking about these verses:

When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.  And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  Matthew 3:16-17

Yes, Jesus was baptized here, and that in itself is probably enough reason to go through the turnstile, but something even cooler happened on the banks of the Jordan River that day.  The crowd that was watching the baptism also got a glimpse of the mystery of the Trinity.  God the Father, spoke,  the Holy Spirit came down and rested on Jesus The Son.  Wow.  Just wow.  Three in One.

Thinking of the Triune God is something we struggle to grasp in our limited understanding.  Yet, in an ancient time, on the shores of a small river, God decided to come close…with the Spirit and the Son, to His people.  What I would give to stand in that place!

$10….I gave $10 to stand in that place.

 

baptism jordan

 

Many glimpses of God showed up that day when my friends and I decided to walk through the turnstile and down the ramp.  Lifelong dreams fulfilled, obstacles overcome, and families bonded, friends rejoiced and sang from the shore.  I even got to help dunk some people!  (Dr. Snell would be so proud!)

I am so glad I did not miss the opportunity to watch relationship happen on the banks of the Jordan that day.  I became part of other people’s experience, they became part of mine, and together, we experienced the type of relationship that God wants us all to have with each other, with Him, with His Son, and His  Holy Spirit.  I think that is just the kind of thing in which He is well-pleased.

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3 thoughts on “Going the Distance: Remembering My Baptism

  1. Em’s foto of my recommitment/baptism in the Jordan shows me in a spotlight from heaven! Might be the highest point of all my 88 years of experiences Thanks for your good words & feelings so much like mine.

  2. REALLY ENJOYED  YOUR  blog post… and yes Dr Snell would be proud of the woman you have become as am I “Dance like no one is watching, sing like no one is listening, love like you’ve never been hurt. Live like it is heaven on earth.”

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