"And the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground …” (Joshua 3:17)

In Name of Jesus. God is at it again...doing more miracles for His people. This seems to be only a repeat miracle. The Israelites had crossed the Red Sea to escape Egypt 40 years earlier, and now they are faced with cross ing the overflowing Jordan River. Even as full as the Jordan was during harvest season, this crossing seemed to pale a bit in comparison to crossing the vast Red Sea. But God repeats this miracle so that the people will know that Joshua is the LORD 's guy, just as much as Moses was before him.

It was no coincidence that God had the sons of Israel enter the promised land in this odd fashion. Many other routes were shorter, and more direct. All other entrances were no doubt easier than figur-ing out how to lead so many people over a swollen river. Isaiah 55: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.

When the Israelites crossed the Red Sea under Moses, they were baptized into Moses, who w as God' s man, and their leader. 2 Corinthians 10: They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. Now Joshua as their new leader takes them through the Jordan River. But both of these were odd, dry baptisms — miraculous in the fact that they would have expected to get quite wet in these bodies of water, but God chose to spare them from the drowning but instead new life in the Promised Land.

But you have not been baptized into Moses, or into Joshua either. You are baptized into Christ Jesus Galatians 3: All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Jesus went into this same Jordan River to be baptized into the flood of all the sins which God washed away from you on to Jesus. Jesus got quite wet in the Jordan, taking all your sin away, from all for you!

Your baptism was a wet one, too . For there you were buried by baptism into Jesus' death, and raised in His resurrection. Romans 6: We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in or-der that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. You go into the deadly waters, washing away your death. You are raised up in Holy Baptism to new life in Christ! Romans 6: For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will cer-tainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. Your baptism into Christ takes you to the cross and to the empty tomb, where the Old Adam drowns and dies, and you-as-a-new-creation in Christ arises to life everlasting! Blessed Epiphany!

Sin, disturb my soul no longer: I am baptized into Christ!
I have comfort even stronger: Jesus’ cleansing sacrifice.
Should a guilty conscience seize me Since my Baptism did release me
In a dear forgiving flood, Sprinkling me with Jesus’ blood?" (LSB 594, vs. 2)

Pastor Berndt