The water licked their sandaled feet. You could hear the roar of the rushing waters. Their feet were ankle deep. They were priests, Levitical priests. They alone had been appointed to lift the Ark of the Covenant and carry it to the water’s edge. Joshua, the new leader of Israel, had instructed them to take up the Ark and pass before the people and go to the water’s edge. That moment communicated a bold statement: God is on the move! Something awesome is about to happen. (Joshua 3:6-8)
The timing of the Israelites crossing of the Jordan made little sense. The river was at flood stage. It was deeper, wider, and moving more swiftly than any other time of the year. These conditions were far from ideal for crossing the river.
Christians stand at similar crossroads every day. Will we take the words of Christ to heart? When Christ says, “Go make disciples of all nations,” will we go and tell others about Jesus Christ? When our Lord says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” will we give generously to those in need?
When those priests stood at the edge of the Jordan, the waters upstream stopped and piled up like a great invisible dam, while the waters downstream were cut off. Hundreds of thousands of Israelites crossed over the Jordan on dry ground on that day. (Joshua 3:14-17) Through this almighty act, the Israelites experienced God’s almighty power (cp. Joshua 3:10). Not only this, but God made himself known to the neighboring nations (cp. Joshua 4:24).
A pastor of a Kentucky church challenged the members of his congregation to do something for someone else on Christmas. A six-year-old girl named Julie baked brownies and handed them out at the University of Kentucky. A Muslim student stopped by and asked why she was giving away free brownies. Julie was a sassy kid. So, she put her hand on her hip, and in a no-duh tone said, “Because Jesus wanted me to. That’s why!” This Muslim student had been questioning the essential tenets of his faith for two years. He asked Julie if he could go to church with her. Julie took him to the children’s ministry room, where this PhD student sat on the floor and learned about Jesus’ love for Zacchaeus. Months later, he was baptized before the congregation.
When the people of God become brave enough to do what Jesus tells them to do, awesome things happen. What Jordan River is Jesus calling you to cross?
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