I stood on top of Elijah’s hill where it is believed his ascension to heaven took place. I looked at the cave that is believed to be a place where John the Baptist lived. I caught a view of the wilderness around as it was when John lived and Elijah ascended. I saw where Jacob wrestled with an angel and his name was changed to Israel. I looked out at the view of the promised land as Moses once did atop of Mt. Nebo. I walked by the Jordan River and saw the baptismal site of Jesus-the birthplace of Christianity. I connected deeply with Jesus as a man who once walked the earth. It is important to learn and understand the heritage of faith as a follower of Jesus Christ.
Christians are encouraged to come to Jordan and see the history of their faith. I didn’t expect to encounter the person of Jesus Christ in such a profound way as I did. To walk where he walked and learn the culture of his time in a deeper way connected me to the man who lived and died so I could be free.
I couldn’t stop thinking about freedom everywhere I went in Jordan. I knew I wasn’t experiencing freedom because Jordan was safe, I was experiencing freedom because every piece of history from the bible that we explored was a reminder of the reason I exist.
As I reflected on the reason of my existence as a daughter of God, I teared up a bit at the Jordan River, not for nostalgia and the thought of Jesus being there but because of the reason he came. And standing in the place that most likely He stood, gave me chills. It was real-his life, death and resurrection, it was real. It had a purpose and it was not just a story for Easter.
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Mathew 3:13-17
I had the opportunity to sit down and stick my toes in the Jordan River. It was a sweet and quiet moment. Later a dear friend showed me the photos she captured of that moment. I was amazed to see in this photo how the shadow was casting light in such a way as to form a cross. I couldn’t help but think of the symbolism of being where Jesus was baptized and began His ministry and then to the cross where He cried out- “It is finished!”
I had a lot of ideas and guesses as to why God had purposed for me to go to Jordan but I never would have guessed that it was to get truly acquainted with Jesus. We claim to know him, we sing about Him in our church services. Do we know how to portray Him to a world He died for? To be a follower of Jesus means to be acquainted with all of His ways-your identity mirroring His. Can that be said of me? I want it to be the thing that defines my life-a follower of Jesus.
Jesus changed history forever for you and me. He made a way for all of us to change the world through a message of radical love. I am challenged in my display of His love. I want to love better, I want to love well.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”