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Journey to Jerusalem Day 10

Friday, February 26 1 Peter 3:18-22
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

There are so many properties of water. It is a vital source of life for both plants and animals. Its power has been harnessed by machines and used as transportation for millennia. Where there is no clean water, disease and death are sure to follow. When aggravated by wind currents and hidden volcanoes, it can destroy huge swaths of land. It is no wonder that necessary but unpredictable water carries such strong symbolism throughout Scripture.

Like a riverbed without moving water, which collects debris and spawns bacteria-filled stagnant pools that cannot be removed, so too is a body trying to live a “good” life on its own. When the Bible refers to life in the flesh, it is not condemning our material bodies (remember, that at the completion of Creation God deemed everything very good), rather it is referring to an incomplete life, a half-life. A body without God’s Spirit is irreparably contaminated and cannot give life to anything else without spreading its own poison or empty promises.

If baptism were only about the water, then it would do no more than wipe away the grime of the day. But we are baptized into the flood of the righteousness of Christ—everything is completely washed away. We may fear that what we think of as essentially us is gone, but the space created is filled with a new life, one that has broken away from the archaic temptations of Satan’s schemes dating back to the first deliverance into new life by way of an ark.

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the assurance of our deliverance into new life here on earth and in eternity. Let us not fear the waters of change but eagerly anticipate the new creation to come.