Episode 2: Into the Wilderness – Baptism and Temptation (Along the Road)


LET’S STOP HERE. THERE’S SOMETHING TO
SEE IN THIS ROCK FACE. ISRAEL IS A LAND THAT’S BUILT
ON LAYERS OF LIMESTONE, AND WE’RE UP ON THE TOP JUST
LOOKING AT THE SURFACE. WE DON’T NECESSARILY
GET THE WHOLE STORY. EACH LAYER HAS A
RELATIONSHIP TO THE OTHERS. NOW WE CAN WE CAN
ZOOM IN AND LOOK AT JUST ONE PART OF THIS
STRUCTURE, BUT IF WE DO THAT, WE’RE GOING TO MISS THE LARGER
STORY THAT’S TOLD WHEN WE LOOK VERTICALLY
IN THE ROCK. THE SAME IS TRUE WHEN
WE LOOK AT BIBLE STORIES. YOU KNOW, WHENEVER I’M HERE,
I HAVE QUESTIONS THAT BEGIN TO RISE IN MY MIND,
AND I THINK THE ONE THAT I’VE WRESTLED WITH
AND TRIED TO ANSWER IS, THIS IS AN AWFULLY LONG
WALK FOR A BAPTISM. THERE’S LOTS OF WATER
UP BY NAZARETH. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS LOCATION
THAT WAS SO IMPORTANT THAT JESUS WAS READY
TO WALK THE BETTER PART OF A WEEK DOWN HERE
IN ORDER TO BE BAPTIZED? I GUESS THE JORDAN RIVER
HAS SUCH A HIGH DEMAND ON ITS WATER THAT IT
FLOWS AT ONLY FIVE PERCENT OF WHAT IT DID IN IN BIBLE
TIMES, SO WE’RE REALLY NOT SEEING THE SAME KIND OF RIVER
THAT WAS HERE IN BIBLE TIMES. BUT WOW! WE ARE
AT THE JORDAN RIVER. YEAH, THERE. OH,
THAT’S SO MUCH NICER. WOW! IT’S SOMETHING
TO BE IN THE SAME WATER, THAT WAS THE PLACE
JESUS WAS BAPTIZED, BUT YOU KNOW, AGAIN AS SOON
AS MY FEET HIT THAT WATER, I HAD THIS BIT OF
A MOMENT OF DÉJÀ VU, A SENSE THAT SOMETHING
IMPORTANT HAPPENED HERE BEFORE. I CAN TELL YOU THAT
JERICHO LIES JUST A FEW MILES
TO OUR WEST, AND WE’RE AT THAT PORTION
OF THE JORDAN RIVER WHICH IS EXACTLY THE SAME PLACE
THAT ISRAEL CROSSED OVER THE JORDAN RIVER, ENTERED
INTO THE PROMISED LAND. AND STARTED THEIR
PUBLIC MINISTRY. THE FATHER’S VOICE
FROM HEAVEN CALLS OUT, “THIS IS MY BELOVED SON WITH
WHOM I AM WELL-PLEASED.” AND AS THE SPIRIT DESCENDS ON
JESUS IN THE FORM OF THE DOVE, IT BECOMES ABSOLUTELY CLEAR THINGS HAVE CHANGED IN JESUS’ LIFE. THE 30 QUIET
YEARS IN NAZARETH ARE OVER, AND NOW JESUS IS STARTING
HIS PUBLIC MINISTRY. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE TO TAKE MY
FAMILY OUT INTO THE WILDERNESS. I LOVE TO DO THAT,
BUT I WOULD NEVER THINK ABOUT TAKING MY FAMILY
OUT INTO THE WILDERNESS AND LEAVING THEM THERE WITHOUT FOOD, WATER, AND COMPANIONSHIP. I’M STRUCK WITH THE FACT THAT’S
EXACTLY WHAT THE FATHER DID. HE BROUGHT HIS SON OUT INTO
THIS VERY DIFFICULT ECOSYSTEM, AND LEFT HIM WITHOUT FOOD AND WATER AND COMPANIONSHIP. JUDAH’S WILDERNESS
IS SUCH A HARSH AND DIFFICULT
ENVIRONMENT. AREA THAT WE’RE IN IS
IN A RAINFALL SHADOW. I LIKE WILDERNESS STORIES.
THE IDEA OF WILDERNESS IS MENTIONED MORE THAN
300 TIMES IN THE BIBLE. WHEN MATTHEW TELLS
THAT STORY, MATTHEW CHAPTER 4, MATTHEW IS VERY,
VERY CAREFUL TO PROVIDE JUST
THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF DETAILS AND JUST THE KIND OF DETAILS THAT HELP CONNECT THE EXPERIENCE
OF JESUS IN WILDERNESS WITH THE EXPERIENCE
OF ISRAEL IN WILDERNESS. I DON’T KNOW IF YOU’VE EVER READ
MATTHEW 4 IN THAT WAY, BUT THINK ABOUT THAT. AFTER ISRAEL CROSSED THE RED
SEA, THIS MONUMENTAL EXPERIENCE, THEY WERE LED BY GOD
INTO THE WILDERNESS. AFTER JESUS’ TREMENDOUS
EXPERIENCE OF THE BAPTISM, HE IS LED BY THE SPIRIT
INTO WILDERNESS. IT’S NOT THE SAME WILDERNESS,
BUT IT’S THE SAME ECOSYSTEM. BOTH JESUS
AND ISRAEL REMAIN IN THAT ECOSYSTEM
FOR A PERIOD OF 40, ISRAEL IT’S 40 YEARS,
JESUS IT’S 40 DAYS. AND ISRAEL WAS HUNGRY.
IN FACT, THEY WERE RAVAGED BY HUNGER PAINS
IN THE SAME WAY THAT JESUS WAS WHEN HE CAME
OUT INTO THIS WILDERNESS. AND AT THAT MOMENT,
WITHOUT ANY FOOD TO EAT AND WITHOUT
ANY WATER TO DRINK, THE FATHER COMES TO BOTH
WITH THIS QUESTION: “WILL YOU TRUST ME? “WILL YOU TRUST ME
WHEN THE FUNDAMENTALS “FOR YOUR OWN PERSONAL
SURVIVAL ARE NOT IN VIEW?” NOW, AT THIS POINT THE
EXPERIENCE OF JESUS AND ISRAEL DIVERGED FROM ONE ANOTHER. THEY COMPLAINED ABOUT
THE LACK OF WATER. THEY COMPLAINED ABOUT
THE QUALITY OF THE FOOD, AND THEY DEMANDED THAT THEY
BE TAKEN BACK TO EGYPT RATHER THAN CONTINUE
TO THE PROMISED LAND. “WILL YOU TRUST ME?” ISRAEL SAID “NO.” JESUS SAID, “YES.” NOW THIS IS SUCH AN
IMPORTANT LESSON TO ME BECAUSE IT SHOWS THAT JESUS IS MORE THAN HIS FOREBEARERS. IF JESUS WERE ONLY A
NOBLE EXAMPLE TO FOLLOW, IF HE SIMPLY
DELIVERED FOR US AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT IT
MEANT TO LIVE WELL, HE WOULD LOOK
NO BETTER THAN SOMEONE LIKE ABRAHAM
OR DAVID OR MOSES, ALL OF WHOM EVENTUALLY
STRUGGLED AND FELL. AND THAT’S MY PROBLEM TOO. I NEED MORE THAN A GOOD
EXAMPLE TO FOLLOW. I NEED SOMEONE TO DO WHAT
I CANNOT DO ON MY OWN. I’M REMINDED OF
THE WORDS OF PAUL, “THE GOOD THAT I KNOW I SHOULD
DO, I JUST CAN’T GET IT DONE, “AND THE EVIL THINGS
THAT I DON’T WANT TO DO, “I JUST CAN’T HELP MYSELF.” AND FOR SOMEONE LIKE ME WHO IS
CAUGHT UP IN THAT PROBLEM THAT HAS PERSISTED
SINCE THE GARDEN OF EDEN, I NEED MORE THAN A
GOOD EXAMPLE TO FOLLOW. I NEED SOMEONE
WHO CAN COME AND HAVE EVERY EXPERIENCE
THAT I MIGHT HAVE IN LIFE EVEN THE HARD ONES, THE
WILDERNESS-LIKE EXPERIENCES, AND LIVE THEM
SUCCESSFULLY WHEN I DON’T. I NEED JESUS, THE ONE
WHO’S DESCRIBED IN HEBREWS, “ONE WHO WAS TESTED IN EVERY WAY
AS I AM, AND YET DID NOT SIN.”

2 comments

  1. I can understand that when we take the step of faith and baptize, the temptation will become stronger, like Jesuschrist 👑. Excellent explanation of the Gospel, the Word of God 💕 Hallelujah 💞☝💕

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