Red Sea Crossing, Part 2

The Exodus, and in particular the account of how God rescued the Israelites at the Red Sea is a prime example of how the Old Testament is a foretaste of things to come in the New Testament. As I read chapter 14 of Exodus, I see that this is a truly desperate situation. Facing the people is the sea; Pharoah and his army are pursing them from behind. They are trapped and cannot save themselves. Moses understands that they must rely completely on God. He tells them:

“Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today … The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Exodus 14:13-14

God is in complete control. He not only directs Moses, He hardens the heart of Pharoah and repositions the pillar of fire and the angel. He drives the sea back so that the Israelites can cross on dry land and the returns it to its normal course, destroying the Egyptians.

This is not only an event involving water, it is a watershed event! It is one of those moments when history is changed forever. The Israelites never forgot their rescue, commemorating it every year in the Passover celebration.

As individual Christians, our baptism is a similar watershed event. Through water and the Word of God, we too are rescued. Just as God defeated Pharoah through the water of the Red Sea, in the water of our baptism, God defeats the world, the flesh and the devil. Like the Israelites, we are no longer condemned to a life of slavery; we are new creations, united with Christ and promised eternal life with God. Whether we are baptized as an infant or an adult, it is the grace of God alone that finds us and saves us, the crux of faith as summed up by Paul:

“For by grace you have been saved by faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

More to come tomorrow ….

For more about baptism see these posts:

United with Christ in our Baptism

Baptism, A New Beginning

The Freedom of Baptism

I Have Given You an Example

When we’re deciding on a direction for our lives, it is not uncommon to follow someone else’s example.  As children, we naturally look to our parents.  As we get older, teachers, friends, and siblings influence us.  At work, we may choose a mentor, someone we respect, and imitate their work ethic or philosophy.  Sometimes we even look to celebrities or heroes whose lifestyle we wish to duplicate in our own lives.  Often those we choose to follow end up disappointing us in some way.  We find out that even the greatest saints have feet of clay… or as one Christian author said, we’re all cracked pots.

Jesus is the one person whose example is always perfect and safe to follow.  Earlier this week I went to Maundy Thursday service and I learned something about that (for those who are from not from liturgical background, this is the evening when we celebrate and remember the Last Supper).  Before the Passover meal Jesus deliberately set an example for the disciples.  He knew that His time with them was growing short and He wanted to impress upon them this matter of great importance.

“When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them.  ‘Do you understand what I have done to you?  You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that you should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.'” John 13: 12-17

Jesus set the example for us — servanthood.  As His disciples, He expects us to follow.  Are you moving in the right direction?