When Jesus shows up things happen!
Jesus claimed His mission was ‘aphesis’ - (release, pardon, freedom):
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
- Luke 4:18-19
Of the 17 times that the word ‘aphesis’ shows up in the Bible, 12 times refer to the forgiveness of sin. The removal of sin via Our Father’s forgiveness and ‘chesed’ - faithful love - is the first step to knowing Him intimately and receiving all He has to give us. Only those of us who admit our waywardness (sin) will receive pardon and freedom from it to live life to the full.
The River has long held a place of significance in our collective consciousness. Specifically, the Jordan River marked a major change for Israel:
+ Leaving their stubborn, willful disobedience behind in the wilderness
+ Moving into greater intimacy with God through obedience
+ Experiencing the fulfillment of the promises of God in the Promised Land, which waited for them on the other side of the River.
Ultimately, the Jordan River symbolized national renewal (via surrender to God’s faithful love). The River still symbolizes these realities for us today, friends. It’s a boundary marker signifying the parts of ourselves that need to die to make way for the newness and life Our Father has promised to give us. There are many frauds that promise a safe crossing into the Promised Land by building a bridge or a ferry to cross into the promises of God, but the only way to enter into God’s blessing and brighter future is to go through the waters to the other side. That symbolic death - as we now illustrate through the sacrament of baptism - is the rite of passage for all of the children God loves and calls to Himself in Jesus Christ.
Will you leave the 'Wilderness of Doing Life Your Way' behind and go through the waters of the 'River of Repentance and Trust in the Father’s Faithful Love' to cross to the other side? This is not simply an illustration of life’s journey to a heavenly home after death, this victory of Jesus over death and hell is meant for us in the here end now. The Promised Land is something we are meant to enter this side of physical death and it’s where His Kingdom is being built - together, right here.
The adventure begins on the other side of the Jordan River!
What aspect of Jesus' mission of 'aphesis' (release, pardon, freedom) are you drawn to be a part of?
What must you leave behind in the Wilderness as you pass through the River into the Promises God has for you?
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