"When we follow Jesus into the water, we commit ourselves to the way of suffering and the cross.
John Mark Hicks.
JMH was our second keynote speaker of Lipscomb Summer Celebration. Here are some of my notes from his thoughts on Joshua 3.
As Israel stepped up to the Jordan River to cross it much like they had done with the red sea and Moses years before, there surely was a lot of things going through their minds. One of those thoughts may have been the well known story of the land called "The Epic of Baal." In this story, Baal becomes the "God of the world" by conquering the river and the sea.
By crossing the Jordan into the Baal worshiping lands, God was about to show His superiority as He conquered the river and the sea as well.
Yet crossing the river into the promised land wasn't an automatic life free of hardship. By passing through the waters, the Israelites were embracing a life filled with work and battle as they were part of God's story driving out the inhabitants of the land. When we plunge into the waters of baptism, we also aren't automatically granted a life free of toil and tears, but are accepting a life of suffering and persecution such as like the cross.
John Mark Hicks encourages us, like the Israelites, to think beyond the waters of the Jordan and baptism, and to count the cost of discipleship. Crossing through this water is not to be taken lightly.
Yet the beauty of the promise is that on the other side of the Jordan is one who has already crossed leading us to salvation and our promised land in heaven; that one is Jesus the Christ.
Ashley and I are taking notes and sharing them here for the primary purpose of benefiting our church family at Washington Church of Christ, yet we won't limit God to just using these insights there. May they be a blessing to all who read them. Feel free to ask us questions about anything in our Lipscomb Summer Celebration notes.