Archive for the ‘Jordan River’ tag
- At Jesus’ Baptism, God sent the Holy Spirit and announced that Jesus is His Son. At Baptism, God makes us His children through the work of the Holy Spirit.
- Law: Because of God’s wrath and anger over sin, I and all people need a Savior.
- Gospel: At Jesus’ Baptism, God said that Jesus is His Son. In Baptism, God grants me faith in Jesus, my Savior, and declares me His child.
- Why is the Baptism of Jesus such an appropriate lesson for the Epiphany season?
- God’s Word does not prescribe a certain style or location for a baptismal font in a church. Yet some congregations have large, beautifully designed fonts, and some put the font in a prominent location, such as right inside the entrance to the sanctuary. Why would they do these things? How could the style or location of the font communicate what a congregation believes about Baptism?
- How does John make it clear that he is not the Christ (Messiah)? See Luke 3:15–16 and John 3:28–30. In what way are pastors like John the Baptist?
- What did John’s Baptism do for those who received it? See Luke 3:3. Jesus was born sinless and never sinned. Why would He, the sinless One, need such a Baptism? See Matthew 3:14–15. What does His Baptism mean for us? See 2 Corinthians 5:17–21.
- What do we learn from the Old Testament passage that provides the background for Luke 3:22? See Isaiah 42:1. What is the significance for us of the Spirit’s descent upon Jesus in the form of a dove? See Luke 3:16 and John 3:5. Based on the Holy Spirit’s name, how do we know what He does?
- How does Christ’s Baptism provide insight into the mission of the apostles and their successors in the Church? See Matthew 28:19–20 and Acts 2:38.
- Read Luke 3:17. What does this passage say is part of Jesus’ mission? Why is this message unpopular today? Why is it important that we continue to proclaim this aspect of Jesus’ work?
- In the early days of Christianity, some churches would not allow people to pray the Lord’s Prayer until they were baptized. This might sound strange to us, but if we read the Lord’s Prayer closely, we might understand their practice better. Compare the following parts of the Lord’s Prayer with the corresponding verses and try to find the connection between them.
“Our Father who art in heaven.”
See Galatians 3:26–27 and Luke 3:22.
“Hallowed be Thy name.”
See Matthew 28:19–20 and John 1:12–13.
“Thy kingdom come.”
See John 3:5.
“Forgive us our trespasses.”
See Acts 2:38.
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?
The text for this lesson is 2 Kings 5:1–14.
- Just as the Lord used an ordinary servant girl and ordinary water to heal Naaman, He cares for us through the ordinary people and ordinary means He chooses.
- Law: We too often want or even expect God to work in dramatic and exciting ways, such as pulsating worship, spectacular results to our witnessing, or giving us personal signs.
- Gospel: God gives forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation through ordinary water, through bread and wine, and through the voice of humble servants, all by the power of His simple Word.
- Read 2 Kings 5:2–6. How does God use the injustice of the enslaving of the young Israelite girl to accomplish His divine purpose?
- Why do you suppose the king of Israel tore his clothes when the Syrian king’s letter asked him to cure Naaman of his leprosy?
- Why was Naaman angry when he received Elisha’s words?
- Read 2 Kings 5:15. What is the purpose of Elisha’s prescription for healing?
- Who helped Naaman realize that God was able to heal him through Elisha? How does God work through Christian neighbors to share His love?
- Naaman was healed with simple water, directed by God’s Word. What does this remind us of today? What do we receive through Baptism?
- Read Ephesians 2:1–5, 10. Describe the change that takes place in us through Baptism. What effect does that change have on us? Read also 1 Peter 2:9–12. What examples can you give of Christians demonstrating these effects in their lives?
- How does God demonstrate that His ways are beyond human thought and understanding?
- God works through simple means to heal Naaman. How does God continue to work through simple means today to provide healing and strength to sinners?
The text for this lesson is Joshua 3:1-4:24
- What did God point Joshua to that would help him to be a good leader?
- God commands Joshua, who then commands Israel, and they obey the command. God tells Joshua that when the people see the miracle they will know that the Lord is with Joshua just as He was with Moses. Why is that important?
- What is significant about the twelve men chosen to carry the memorial stones and the purpose for building this sign?
- Why did Joshua set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan in the place where the priests had stood?
- Why did God miraculously heap the Jordan River? Couldn’t He have told the people to build rafts or boats or engineer a bridge?
- What is the message of the twelve stones?
- How is the crossing of the Jordan similar to the crossing of the Red Sea?
- How does this miraculous passing through the Jordan River point us to the New Testament and into our time?
- On what did God constantly have the children of Israel focus? Why is that important?
- On what does God constantly have us focus for our salvation?
The text for this lesson is 2 Kings 2:1–15.
- Enoch and Elijah were taken into heaven alive. Jesus, who is our Enoch and our great Elijah, ascended alive into heaven for us and our salvation.
- Law: Death overtakes me because I am permeated by sin and am subject to its penalty.
- Gospel: In the death of Jesus is the death of death itself, and I will be raised up with Christ and seated with Him in heaven.
It’s time for the baton—or rather the mantle—of Elijah to pass to his vicar, Elisha. Cleaving to his master’s side, Elisha follows him on a somewhat circuitous route that ends east of the Jordan. In this same region centuries before, the baton had been passed from Moses to Joshua. Now it would go from Elijah to Elisha—same song, second verse. It is here, too, that the latter-day Elijah, that is, John the Baptist, would bow out so that the Elisha-like Jesus could move forward with His ministry— same song, final verse.
The text for this lesson is Joshua 3:1—5:12.
- At the Jordan River, led by Joshua, Israel left the desert and entered the Promised Land of milk and honey; in the water of our Baptism, led by Christ, we leave behind the desert of sin, death, and Satan and enter into our heavenly promised land.
- Law: In sin, I am ever-complaining and unrepentant, wearily wandering in the desert of death, determined to go my own way.
- Gospel: In Baptism, Christ lifts me from the grave, joins me to His own baptism and His own body, the Church, and leads me and the Church into the land of rest.
- Bible Words: Titus 3:5.
- Faith Words: Ark of the Covenant, Jordan River, Promised Land, tribe.
- Catechism: Holy Baptism