Leaving the Sea of Galilee...

...and heading for the Jordan River.

Several of us were baptized in the Jordan River at the end of the day. John had never been immersed and I had questioned my baptism because of the false beliefs I held when I was baptized earlier in my life. So this was a decision I had given much thought to. I did not consider it a rededication. I considered it my first true baptism because I now know that in baptism I have been buried and raised with Christ. When I was baptized previously, I didn't believe I had the promise of eternal life through Jesus' perfect life, death and resurrection. I was taught that I had to merit eternal life through my own sinless life. Therefore, in hindsight, I realize that I didn't believe the gospel. To most Christians, this is hard to imagine.

Although I never believed I would go to heaven, I still wanted to live for God because I loved Him. I believed that everything good in my life was from Him and I was grateful that Jesus died to give me a chance at eternal life -- even though I didn't believe I would ever go to heaven or see Him (because I was taught that God required my perfection even after Jesus had died for my "past" sins). I accepted this as truth because I was taught this my entire life. I carried it like a weight all those years -- even as a child. But I remember thinking that even if I couldn't make it, maybe I would help someone else in some way who would reach perfection, and my life would at least have had a purpose. That sounds noble, but it was unbelief.

I now realize that Jesus died because no one could obey the law perfectly (except Him) and the purpose of the law was to demonstrate how much we need a Savior. Righteousness is through faith in Him, not through my own sinlessness. I will be perfect one day, but not until I see Him. That is not limiting God (as I was told all my life), it is receiving His gift and believing in His promises.

The expression you see on my face in this picture reflects the depth of emotion I was feeling; being baptized believing that, in addition to forgiveness of sins, I have been buried and raised with Christ through faith. I'm glad I waited until I truly knew and believed this promise. I was baptized as a child and I don't remember it. I was baptized again as a young adult and I remember mostly feeling shame for my sin. But this time I had the assurance of being raised with Christ and I was experiencing that deeply in this moment. The fact that this baptism took place in the Jordan River was just icing on the cake.John came up just like he went down...smiling. The water was cold, but none of us cared.


Danny Bryant said…
great post, mom. great pictures, too.
Eric Brenton said…
You share your faith so beautifully. I am enjoying your pictures so much. Thank you for taking the time to narrate your travels.
I love hearing how your faith became even more real by your baptism in the Jordan River. I thank God for the freedom you have in Christ!
Keep Shari...ng!
Love, Ann