Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

Crossing the Jordan 010511

The Jordan River

Image via Wikipedia

 

Crossing the Jordan 010511

Meditation and Discussion follow the scriptures.

Psalm 72

Joshua 1:1-9

Hebrews 11:32—12:2

Psalm 72

Prayer for Guidance and Support for the King

Of Solomon.
1 Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to a king’s son.
2 May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice.
3 May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness.
4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the needy,
and crush the oppressor.
5 May he live* while the sun endures,
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
6 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth.
7 In his days may righteousness flourish
and peace abound, until the moon is no more.
8 May he have dominion from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
9 May his foes* bow down before him,
and his enemies lick the dust.
10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles
render him tribute,
may the kings of Sheba and Seba
bring gifts.
11 May all kings fall down before him,
all nations give him service.
12 For he delivers the needy when they call,
the poor and those who have no helper.
13 He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
14 From oppression and violence he redeems their life;
and precious is their blood in his sight.
15 Long may he live!
May gold of Sheba be given to him.
May prayer be made for him continually,
and blessings invoked for him all day long.
16 May there be abundance of grain in the land;
may it wave on the tops of the mountains;
may its fruit be like Lebanon;
and may people blossom in the cities
like the grass of the field.
17 May his name endure for ever,
his fame continue as long as the sun.
May all nations be blessed in him;*
may they pronounce him happy.
18 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.
19 Blessed be his glorious name for ever;
may his glory fill the whole earth.Amen and Amen.

20 The prayers of David son of Jesse are ended.

Joshua 1:1-9

Joshua

God’s Commission to Joshua

1After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying, 2‘My servant Moses is dead. Now proceed to cross the Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the Israelites. 3Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, as I promised to Moses. 4From the wilderness and the Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, to the Great Sea in the west shall be your territory. 5No one shall be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. 6Be strong and courageous; for you shall put this people in possession of the land that I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to act in accordance with all the law that my servant Moses commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, so that you may be successful wherever you go. 8This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful. 9I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’

Hebrews 11:32—12:2

32 And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. 36Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two,* they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented— 38of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

39 Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40since God had provided something better so that they would not, without us, be made perfect.

The Example of Jesus

12Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,* and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of* the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Crossing the Jordan 010511

In today’s verses we notice that it is Joshua who crosses the Jordan River to bring home the Israelite people to the land God has promised them. Historians can tell us a great deal about this event, and it is very interesting, but for today let’s look at the metaphor of ‘Crossing the Jordan’.

 

For the Jewish people crossing the Jordan was a necessary step for a messiah to undertake. It was so important that several messiah-candidates just prior to John the Baptizer and Jesus led a band of rebels and revolutionaries across the Jordan into the wilderness, then returned across the Jordan in a statement of revolutionary intent. The Romans massacred the rebels quickly, and that was it.

 

So, at the time, the Romans knew or were told of the significance of this metaphor, and knew it meant revolution was being attempted.

 

What John the Baptizer did differently was to wash people in the (spirit) of the Jordan’s waters, and then told the baptized ones to return home and wait for the voice of the Messiah. In effect, John was creating an underground force of sleeper cells, perhaps bent on terrorism, or at least bent on change of some sort, and it was too much for the Romans, so John was executed by beheading.

 

In the same metaphorical sense (which Jesus repeated) what do we need to do to cross the Rover Jordan, and then return? In a sense, every Christian needs to cross the River Jordan, but then return to the world, where the old attractive sins and errors pursue us. Even though we cross the Jordan into the ‘wilderness’, we all need to return across the Jordan, and face whatever issues we had that led us to part from God.

 

Peace,

Pastor Bill

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