BAPTISM AND JORDAN
The river Jordan gets its name from the Hebrew word Jordan, which means “descender.” Jordan travels for two hundred fifty-one kilometres before emptying into the Dead Sea, which is located one thousand two hundred ninety-two feet below sea level. Because of the high level of salt in the water, nothing living can endure the harsh conditions of the Dead Sea, hence all life that ever flourished there has now perished.
Due to this, Jordan is associated with death, and it is for this reason that Jesus defines Himself in John 3:13 as the One who descended and ascended, meaning that He entered the domain of death and then climbed into the realm of life, which is the true world and the spiritual realm.
John 3:13 — No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven – the Son of Man.
Ephesians 4:9-10 — Now what is the meaning of “he ascended,” except that he also descended to the lower regions, namely, the earth? He, the very one who descended, is also the one who ascended above all the heavens, in order to fill all things.
DESCENDED AND ASCENDED
When Paul describes Christ as the one who “descended into the lowest portions of the earth,” he is not talking about hell as is popularly believed; instead, he is speaking about the world of death. The fall and the ascension take place on the path from death to life, also known as the resurrection since the death and the resurrection are joined together in Christ. According to John 11:25 and John 14:6, Christ is both the life and the resurrection of the dead.
John 11:25 — Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even if he dies…”
John 14:6 — Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
DOMAIN OF DEATH
The journey of Jesus into the domain of death is the first crucial component of the baptism of Jesus in Jordan, and it symbolises His approaching death. Man had brought himself all the way back to the world of death, and he was unable to save himself from there; thus, another one had to come and save him from that realm.
According to Hebrews 2:14, Jesus came to earth to put an end to death once and for all and to save mankind from the pit or kingdom of death. He was the only one who could put an end to death, according to this verse.
Hebrews 2:14 — Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he likewise shared in their humanity, so that through death he could destroy the one who holds the power of death (that is, the devil)…”
Second, the book of Joshua chapter 22 tells us that the people of Reuben, the people of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh separated themselves from the people of Israel at Shiloh, which is located in the land of Canaan, in order to travel to the land of Gilead, which was their own land and of which they already had possession as a result of the Lord’s command to Moses.
When they arrived in the area of the country of Canaan which is located around the Jordan River, the people of Reuben and Gad and half of the Manasseh tribe constructed a monumental altar there. When the people of Israel found out about it, they became enraged and declared,
Joshua 22:11 — The Israelites received this report: “Look, the Reubenites, Gadites, and half-tribe of Manasseh have built an altar at the entrance to the land of Canaan, at Geliloth near the Jordan on the Israelite side.”
As soon as the Israelites heard about it, they converged in Shiloh to prepare for battle against their enemies. The people of Reuben, the people of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh were confronted in the land of Gilead by Phinehas, son of Eleazar the priest, who along with ten chiefs, one from each of the tribal families of Israel, informed them that the Jordan was a boundary between them. Phinehas was accompanied by ten chiefs, one from each of the tribal families of Israel.
When we examine the whole situation, we see that the argument was over the construction of the altar and the devotion that was associated with it. A barrier like this not only divided the land, but also the people who lived on either side of it. Because of this, we see Jordan as a border, a divider, and a barrier that separates two distinct groups of people.
THE DIVIDING LINE
Christ crossed over into Jordan, which is a site of division and separation, just as Christ Himself is the dividing line between life and death, unfaithfulness and faithfulness, body and spirit, and Adam and Christ. Jordan is a place of border, division, and separation. Within him, the boundary between life and death is established. Because of him, those who have passed away are distinguished from those who are still alive. He is thus the One Who Judges. The baptism of Jesus Christ took place in Jordan for a second purpose, and that reason is as follows:
THE TWELVE STONES
Here, we learn about the twelve stones in the book of Joshua,
Joshua 4:9 — Joshua also set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan in the very place where the priests carrying the ark of the covenant stood. They remain there to this very day.
Joshua 4:20 — Now Joshua set up in Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken from the Jordan.
We are told that Joshua placed twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan River, with one of the stones representing each member of the tribe of the Israelites. This verse serves as a reminder that the water continues to flow over these twelve stones even to this day. Joshua is seen collecting twelve stones from Jordan and placing them at Gilgal.
[blockquote align=”right” author=”Godwin Sequeira”]”Christ, Himself is the dividing line between life and death, unfaithfulness and faithfulness, body and spirit, and Adam and Christ.”[/blockquote]
The importance of such an activity on the side of Joshua, who symbolised Jesus, is that it is about us going on with something new and leaving something in the past. The past life of Adam, who is now dead, must be put in the past, and we must press on toward the life that is found in Christ. By going down into the Jordan River, Christ was demonstrating to us the passage from the Adamic nature into His own nature through the process of death.