Reflections: Thursday of the First Week after the Epiphany

Today’s Reading: Joshua 3:1-3, 7-8, 13-17

Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 36:13-28; Romans 4:1-25

Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan. (Joshua 3:17)  

 

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Have you ever asked yourself, “Why is my Bible so heavy?” Jesus. That’s why. The Holy Spirit just can’t contain Himself. He keeps putting Jesus here and there. Out in the open. Under every branch and leaf. Again and again, verse after verse, you will find Jesus.

Our reading begins, “Then Joshua rose early in the morning” (Joshua 3:1). Why do we need to know when Joshua rose? Think Jesus. For Jesus, Joshua’s New Testament namesake, also rose early one important morning–the morning that He led us across the river we call death by dying for us, our death, on the Cross. 

We are told that “at the end of three days” they sent officers throughout the camp (Joshua 3:2). Why do we need to know it was “after three days”? Again, think Jesus. For it was on “the third day” (Luke 24:7) that Jesus rose from the dead for us, forever sending the bright beams of resurrection life throughout the camp of all the baptized.

In the beginning, middle, and end of our reading we get the phrases “passed over” (Joshua 3:1, 16), “pass over” (v.14), and “passing over” (v.17). Again, think Jesus. For with all your sin on the Cross, God’s wrath has nowhere else to land but upon Jesus. God’s wrath passed, is passing, and will forever pass over you now.

Your Bible is so heavy because the Holy Spirit can’t help Himself. He can’t stop talking about Jesus. He wants you to hear that Jesus is the “dry ground” your Baptism promises will be under your feet every day. That Jesus is the “dry ground” God puts under you with every Absolution and sermon you hear from your pastor. That Jesus’ Body and Blood, given you at His Supper, is the “dry ground” upon which you have already crossed, and will always cross, the muddy Jordan, untouched by its death (John 6:54). 

Our Joshua has arrived. And like Joshua of old, our Joshua will safely lead us across the Jordan into the Promised Land of eternal life. It’s why God sends Jesus. It’s why your Bible is so heavy. For you! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Come you faithful, raise the strain Of triumphant gladness! God has brought His Israel Into joy from sadness, Loosed from Pharaoh’s bitter yoke Jacob’s sons and daughters, Led them with unmoistened foot Through the Red Sea waters. (“Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain” LSB 487, st.1)

-Rev. Bradley Drew is pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch