The highlights today included going to the Jordan River, just to the north of the Dead Sea.
This is where Joshua led the children of Istael as they prepared to leave behind slavery and wandering, and go in and possess the land promised to them by God. They were going back, after 500 years to the place where Abraham had come and first built an altar and called on the name of Yahweh.
It is also the place where Jesus was baptized and then sent into the wilderness prior to his announcement and inauguration of the Kingdom. The kingdom Jesus had in mind was very different from what Joshua had in mind (aside – “Jesus” is the Greek form of the Hebrew name “Joshua”!), but they were both responding to God by instituting something very grounded in the real earthy world of flesh and blood.
The wilderness is imposing! Hot, dry, high and scary. The Israelites had a daunting task to establish themselves. Jesus faced a time of excruciating testing and trial. Refined and strengthened, his message of love and forgiveness was about to erupt upon the world, even in the face of authorities and powers arrayed against it.
The role of the Holy Spirit was crucial to his baptism, and his time in the wilderness. May the Spirit lead us, provide for use, and use us to God’s glory.