Wednesday, January 7: Exodus 2:1-11
It’s funny how you can read a passage of scripture a hundred times over the course of your life and each time you read it something new pops out at you. The thing that captured my attention this morning from this passage is the fact that Moses’ name is a play on the phrase “drawn out of the water.”
I’ve got water on my mind today (not water on the brain, that’s different). I’m not talking about the bitter cold, frozen water blowing around outside. (BTW, stay safe and warm today as you enjoy a cold day off from school) No, I’ve got water on my mind because tonight I was planning to teach about baptism at Catechism, this coming weekend I’m preaching about Jesus’ baptism, and next Wednesday we conclude the unit on baptism at Catechism.
What’s the big deal about water anyway?
The princess of Egypt drew Moses out of the Nile River because his mother placed him there to save his life. The princess’ father, Pharoah, had ordered that all Hebrew baby boys be thrown into the river to drown and die. Moses’ mother fudged a bit. She technically put him in the river. Hey, the Pharoah never specified that you couldn’t put him in a basket first, and then put him in the river, did he? Smart and courageous woman!
Moses was surrounded by death. Water kills, if not used properly. Yet, because of the ingenuity and faithfulness of his mother, and the mercy of a powerful princess, Moses was saved by that same water that killed the other boys.
Moses grew up to be the savior of the Hebrew people. He drew them out of slavery in Egypt, crossed the Red Sea (another baptism motif, BTW), and led them to the land and the life that God had promised.
Jesus will do the same thing in this weekend’s text. Jesus is a new Moses. He allowed the sin and evil of the world to destroy him. He was baptized by water and by fire. His baptism was a dedication of his whole self to carry out the will of his Father and give everything in order to rescue us.
Then Jesus called us to follow him. Jesus asks us to give everything to follow him. You see, baptism isn’t just a religious ceremony. Baptism is a drowning. It is a death. We die to our old self. We die to the sin that clouds our judgment. We drown in the Nile River, and then God, through the Holy Spirit, draws us out of the water to walk in a new life. This is a resurrection life in which we can live in the promise of God to be a blessing to all people.
If you have a couple more minutes, do two things. First, read Romans 6:1-4.
Second, watch this movie clip. It comes from James Cameron’s movie The Abyss. I think it is an interesting analogy of what it means to be baptized–to die to your self so that you can go deeper into the life of God and truly live.