Monday, June 28, 2010

Baptized into Moses, Baptized into Christ

In 1 Cor. 10:2, Paul says that all of Israel was baptized “into Moses.” Paul explains that it was “in the cloud and in the sea.” At least one way of understanding this is that Israel followed in the steps of Moses. Moses passed through the water and reeds of the Nile and was delivered from his enemies as Israel was later delivered from her enemies through the waters of the Sea of Reeds. Moses spent 40 years in the wilderness and Yahweh spoke to him at Mt. Sinai as Israel would later do. In other words, if Israel had looked closely in faith, they would have seen how Moses’ early life was all a down payment and a preview of what God planned to do for them. Moses went through an Exodus before God brought Israel through theirs.

And this is why Paul can say that Israel was baptized into Moses. To be baptized is to be joined to a head, to be married to a leader. Israel followed Moses, the savior Yahweh raised up for her, and we are called to do the same. Our baptism is into King Jesus. His baptism was a literal death, and therefore we have been baptized into his death (Rom. 6:3-4). We have been called to follow him to the Promised Land. Throughout Scripture God points his people to what he has already done in history. This is how we know that God will deliver us now and in the future. God has been faithful in Jesus, our great Moses, and therefore he will be faithful to all who are in Him.

Now this meal is another memorial of the death of Christ. We partake of that death and resurrection, that Great Exodus in faith believing that our lives, our stories, are in the process of being turned into the story of Christ. Just as Israel’s story came to resemble the story of Moses, their spiritual head, so too we believe that as we trust and obey, our lives and stories are being conformed to the image of Christ. So come, eat, drink, and rejoice in the Exodus of Jesus.

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