em>The text for this lesson is Joshua 3:3–5:12.
- Led by Joshua through the Jordan River, Israel left the desert and entered the Promised Land; led by Christ through the water of our Baptism, we leave behind the desert of sin, death, and Satan and enter into the promised land of His heavenly kingdom.
- Law: In sin, I wander in the desert of death, complaining and unrepentant, determined to go my own way.
- Gospel: In Baptism, Christ lifts me from the grave, joins me to His own Baptism and Body, the Church, and leads me into the land of rest.
- Think back to the last graduation ceremony you attended. What ceremonies and symbols marked the end of one phase of life and the beginning of the next? Was the focus on the past or on the future?
- Read Joshua 3:1–6. Note the importance of the ark of the covenant. What did this ark represent? How do these instructions reflect the Israelites’ relationship with God?
- Read Joshua 3:14–17. What is the significance of the Jordan River? What is the role of the ark of the covenant during the crossing?
- Read Joshua 4:1–8. What was the purpose of this act commanded by God? How did it represent an end and a new beginning? Are there memorial “signs” that you can identify at church? in the liturgy?
- Read Joshua 5:2–9. What was the significance of circumcision? Why was this an appropriate occasion for all of Israel to be circumcised?
- Read Joshua 5:10–12. What is the significance of the Israelites’ celebration of the Passover?
- This story is filled with connections to other passages in the Bible. Skim Genesis 7–8; Exodus 14; 2 Kings 5; and Matthew 3. How do these Scripture passages use water to mark an end and a new beginning? Skim Exodus 12; 2 Chronicles 35; and Luke 22. How do these passages concerning the Passover mark significant occasions in the restoration of God’s people to the life that God intended for them?
- The Israelites began a new life surrounded by symbol and ceremony. When do Christians begin their new life? What symbols and ceremonies surround this event? What part of this event is not symbolic?
- God instructed the Israelites to create a memorial to remember the day they entered their new life. How are Christians to do the same thing with respect to their Baptism?