Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. Matthew 3:15
Rivers play a prominent part in the lives of people. In the United States, the Mississippi River was, and still is, the principal waterway in middle America. Originating with springs in Lake Itaska in Minnesota, it flows a length of 2,340 miles before it enters the Gulf of Mexico.
The most noteworthy river in the Holy Land is the Jordan. From its several sources in the north, it twists its way some 350 miles until it empties into the Dead Sea.
The Jordan enters frequently into the history of salvation as God planned the Promised Land. It plays so great a part that one writer takes what he calls “a sacramental view of the waters of the river.” In it Naaman of Syria, at the prophet Elisha’s command, bathed and was cured of leprosy (see 2 Kings 5:1-14). The water of the river truly became “sacramental” when, by the power of God’s Word, it healed people of the leprosy of sin as John the Baptist performed his baptism of repentance.
The Lord Jesus, who later replaced John’s baptism with His own (Matthew 28:19), was Himself baptized by John in the Jordan. With Him it was not a matter of washing away sin, for He was without sin. He was baptized not only to set an example but to do something for our good. By submitting to this sacramental act He fulfilled for us “all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). In all His life He was our substitute as He kept the Law, rendered full obedience for our disobedience and, in the end, endured the penalty of death for our disobedience.
We are saved to this day “by the washing with water through the Word” (Ephesians 5:26), regardless of whether such water comes from the Jordan, the Mississippi, or any other source. As baptized Christians, our concern is to fulfill our Lord’s directive to baptize all nations and teach them the Gospel. In a hymn line we pray that the “blest river of salvation” may pursue its onward course and flow to every nation until Jesus returns in glory.
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord God, that the Gospel of Christ, like a river of salvation, has brought faith and peace to many. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)
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