Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Christopher-Sprake. Israel and international agencies removed thousands of land mines from the site and it reopened to visitors. Different from the village of Bethany, where Jesus often visited siblings Mary, Martha, and their brother Lazarus (Luke 10:38-42; John 11:1-41), Bethany beyond the Jordan, sometimes referred to as Bethabara, was most likely a small town on the eastern banks of the Jordan River in what is now present-day Jordan. Question: "Why was Jesus baptized? Moises Saman for NPR Jordan, a resource-poor country, depends heavily on tourism, one of its biggest sources of jobs. Suddenly, he appeared on the scene, walking up to John in the River Jordan. Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist who baptized many people and prophesied of the coming Messiah: "I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” 23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. All rights reserved. While the Bible mentions the Jordan River, where exactly was Jesus baptized? Nearby is the site where many authorities believe that Jesus was baptized by John. The baptism of Jesus in 26 AD puts the timeline of Jesus life clearly in the crosshairs of the 70 Weeks of Daniel prophecy. Jordan's 1994 peace treaty with Israel, which envisioned negotiations with the Palestinians to decide the West Bank's fate, paved the way for Jordanian excavations and reopening the site as a more than 3-square-mile national park in 2002. Left: Director General of the Baptism Site Commission Rustom Mkhjian points out a replica of the Madaba mosaic map — the earliest known depiction of a Holy Land map. It is an area just east of Jericho and near Elijah's Hill where tradition states Elijah was taken to heaven by a whirlwind. Though, in recent months, both the Jordanian and Israeli-run sites have been empty of visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic. In his blog, Perspectives Off the Page, he discusses all things writing, the creative process, and what makes movies, comic books, and great stories so impactful. The Sea of Galilee, sometimes referred to as Lake Gennesaret (Luke 5:1) or Sea of Tiberius (John 6:1, John 21:1) is only about a day’s walk from Nazareth, the town where Jesus grew up (Matthew 2:19-23). Hazem Bader/AFP via Getty Images At the river, Elijah took his coat and struck the waters, which soon parted for them to cross. After the 1967 war in which Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan, both sides of the river were closed military sites, riddled with thousands of land mines. Article Images Copyright ©. John’s baptism was the baptism of repentance (Matthew 3:11), but Jesus was sinless and had no need of repentance. We probably can’t know for certain, though the debate over which side of the river is where Jesus was actually baptized may have more to do with the two nations (Israel and Jordan) trying to attract tourism than anything. Basil is believed to have grown near the cross where Jesus was crucified and is used for blessings. Where was Jesus Baptized? When the priests stepped into the river, and stood in place, the Jordan immediately parted for the people to cross through on dry land (Joshua 3). – John 10:40-42. Orthodox Church Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III tosses a bouquet of basil into the Jordan River, at Qasr al-Yahud, a baptism site near the West Bank city of Jericho, on Jan. 18. However, Jesus convinces John to baptize him nonetheless. When we are baptized, we make a covenant, or promise, to Heavenly Father to: “come into the … And he says Palestinian authorities would have to agree to any tourism deal Jordan wants to forge with Israel. Prince Ghazi says before the coronavirus pandemic, after consultations with Palestinian officials, he had discussed with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin launching a joint project in which tourists would come from Israel into Jordan through a new "soft crossing" near the baptism site on the Jordanian side. As gently as a dove. It's probable that John the Baptist baptized Jesus and others in one of these shallow pools or inlets on the eastern side of the river. He came to John to be baptized, but John told him, "I need to be baptized by you." The fullest description of the baptism of Jesus is given in Matthew 3. "The dispute isn't essentially about the authenticity of the site," says Jordan's Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, the chief multifaith religious adviser to King Abdullah II. If Israel follows through with its plan to annex large areas in the occupied West Bank this year, it would make cooperation extremely difficult, Prince Ghazi acknowledges. The Jordan River itself, with its lush, sandy shores and steep, rocky banks, is fairly narrow and easy to cross in most places, though the current can be swift and even dangerous in some areas. "The River Jordan is the River Jordan. Moises Saman for NPR Where was the actual location of jesus's baptism ? Like most of us, John wondered why Jesus had asked to be baptized. As evidence for the location, he cites biblical verses, the UNESCO certification, remains of fourth-century churches, accounts of early religious pilgrims and a sixth-century map. Moises Saman for NPR Yet, in Matthew 3:15, Jesus says to John, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” In fact, the Dead Sea, or Salt Sea as it is sometimes referred to, sits at 1,300 feet below sea level, the lowest point on earth. It shows the baptism site on the east side of the Jordan River in what is now Jordan. When Jesus Christ was baptized. In fact, John the Baptist recognizes that Jesus does not need to be baptized (Matthew 3:14). Strategically, this would have been an effective place for John the Baptist to minister as it would have seen a high volume of traffic from travelers coming from the Judean wilderness, Judea hill country, Jerusalem, and Jericho. Joel is passionate about fueling young people’s passion for the Lord through storytelling and the arts. When the time came, God directed Joshua to lead the people across the Jordan River, with the priest carrying the Ark of the Covenant ahead of the caravan. And as soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. NPR International Correspondent Daniel Estrin contributed reporting from Jerusalem. In line with Old Testament prophecy and John’s promise, here, Jesus arrived from Galilee to be baptized by John (Matthew 3:13; Mark 1:9). Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, as described in all four Gospels, just a few miles north of the Dead Sea and roughly six … Answer: At first glance, it seems that Jesus’ baptism has no purpose at all. hide caption. John, who had been called to fulfill Old Testament prophecy as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘make straight the way of the Lord,’” (Isaiah 40:3; Matthew 1:3; John 1:23) had retreated into the wilderness of Judea (east of the Jordan River) to “preach a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 1:4). Jesus is baptized in the Jordan (Mat 3:13-17; Mk 1:9-11; Lk 3:21-23).Map of the Ministry of Jesus … In an initiative Israel calls "Land of Monasteries," Rivlin has said he hopes pilgrims will be able to visit both sides of the Jordan river. I said unless the tourists spend three nights in Jordan I'm not opening it just so you can walk over. "Since we built our site, they've cottoned on to us," Prince Ghazi says in a phone interview. What Do Christians Believe?How Old Is the Earth?Who Is My Neighbor in the Bible?What Does God Look Like?Are Guardian Angels Real?What Does it Mean to Be Zealous for God? Workers maintaining the grounds of the baptism site, a major religious pilgrimage tourist destination in Jordan. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’ – Matthew 3:16-17. Through sacred priesthood pow’r. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:7-8). Jesus (c. 4 BC – AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, was a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader. Bible Study Resources - Tips, Online Bible Search, Devotions. Yes, it’s here when the skies opened up and a dove flew around when Jesus Christ emerged from the water. All of these waterways are located in Jordan’s Rift Valley, a massive geological fissure that forms one of the longest cracks and lowest natural depressions on earth. hide caption. He didn’t have anything to repent of! The marble font is used for baptizing infants who cannot be baptized in the river. Workers maintaining the grounds of the baptism site, a major religious pilgrimage tourist destination in Jordan. For those following in the footsteps of Jesus, you can now get baptized at the official Jesus baptism site, Qasr al-Yahud, on the Jordan River. The Baptism of Jesus is not the only noteworthy biblical event to feature the Jordan River. Today, the nearly 156 miles of the Jordan River flow southward from Mount Hermon, located on the border of modern-day Syria and Lebanon, and drain into the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel. In fact, the Jordan River is a major setting for two major Old Testament stories. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. He was the son, so … Every year following the Epiphany, all the Faithful celebrate this holy event as the Feast of Baptism of the Lord. First Year of Public Ministry After His baptism by John the Baptist, Jesus is tempted in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights without water or food. The West Bank, home to more than 3 million Palestinians and hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers, remains under Israeli occupation. And then he quotes John in Matthew 3:11: “I baptize you with wa… The viewer’s eye is shifted toward him in three ways. When Jesus came to John for baptism, John protested his unworthiness, and did so only on Jesus’ insistence. "I see pilgrims from the Israeli side moving to the Jordanian side and vice versa," the president said in a statement. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire" (Mathew 3:11). Right: A modern mosaic depicting the visit of Pope Francis to the baptism site in 2016 accompanied by members of Jordan's royal family. Most evidence, however, points to the eastern side, the Jordanian side, being the actual site of Bethany beyond the Jordan, John’s ministry, and Jesus’ baptism. Jesus at the Jordan River. "It's not a competition issue, please don't misunderstand," says Mkhjian. To be baptized in the same place where Jesus was baptized, is a uniquely spiritual moment for the Christian believer. Bethany Beyond Jordan - Where Jesus was Baptized UNESCO recently named an area on the east side of the Jordan River in Jordan as a World Heritage Site (here is an article from the Salt Lake Tribune). 21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. The matter of Jesus’ baptism can be confusing for some people. So let’s let Matthew guide us in answering the question: Why did Jesus insist on being baptized by John? Jesus would have been roughly 30 years old at the time of his baptism. After the miraculous crossing, Joshua took 12 stones from banks of the river and placed them in the middle of the river where the priests had stood to mark the place where God had intervened and once again use his miraculous power in Israel’s favor (Joshua 4:1-9). "We as a royal commission will never turn this site into Disneyland," he says. The Jordanian site includes the spot where UNESCO says Jesus was believed to have been baptized, now inland after the river changed course, as well as Elijah's Hill, where tradition says the Prophet Elijah ascended to heaven in a flaming chariot. So in many ways, this specific location on the Jordan River had both symbolic and strategic significance—of which John the Baptist would have been well aware. He has told us, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” . We can look to the very words of Jesus for the answer to this question: Jesus was baptized because it was necessary for the fulfillment of all righteousness (Matthew 3:15).Jesus truly took our place in every way as the ultimate atonement for sin and death. In fact, Jesus would later return to this same Bethany to momentarily escape from the threats of the Pharisees in Jerusalem (John 10:40-42). ", "To be honest, over there you don't have what we have here," he says, pointing to the western bank of the river. But Jesus insisted on being baptized by John, saying, "It is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. UNESCO has declared Bethany Beyond the Jordan a World Heritage site, identifying present-day Jordan as the location where Jesus' baptism is believed to have taken place. Does the Bible Actually Mention Seven Deadly Sins? He is the central figure of Christianity, the world's largest religion.Most Christians believe he is the incarnation of God the Son and the awaited Messiah (the Christ) prophesied in the Old Testament.. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a … Israel also claims a similar spot on the west side of the river. While Jordan has the weight of UNESCO, archaeological findings and top church officials behind it for the location of Jesus' baptism, Israel has the tourist numbers. The site is currently open from 8am-5pm daily during the summer (free entry) but there is no longer a need to coordinate your visit in advance, despite its location in a closed military zone. It is worth noting that both Old Testament river crossings, mentioned above, took place at a similar location on the Jordan River, east of Jericho and a few miles north of the Dead Sea, very close to where John would later minister, and Jesus would later be baptized. It’s also an annual occasion for many to ask, “Why was Jesus baptized?” After all, he is the sinless, divine Son of God, and the baptism that John the Baptist administered was “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 1:4). John wanted his readers to know where the ministry of Jesus had all begun. The site on the Jordanian side of the river looks much like the New Testament describes it when John the Baptist came to live in the wilderness, surviving on locusts and wild honey. Throughout Scripture, the crossing of the Jordan River became symbolic of God’s miraculous power, the confirmation of His favor, fulfillment of promise, and the beginning of public ministry. Prior to reaching the Dead Sea, the Jordan River creates a geographical border between Israel’s West Bank and present-day Jordan to the west. The site has been closed to tourists and pilgrims because of the coronavirus pandemic but staff are preparing it for an eventual reopening. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. What Is Palm Sunday and What Does it Have to Do with Easter? Quite simply, Jesus was baptized so he could enter into the Melchizedek priesthood, so He could be the High Priest and offer Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. The Madaba mosaic is the oldest known map of the Holy Land, which places Jesus' baptism in present-day Jordan. We want the tourists to spend three nights in Jordan, experience the other holy sites in Jordan, come to Jordan, spend some money.". Can Loved Ones in Heaven Look Down on You? A Prayer for Peace in Confusing Times - Your Daily Prayer - January 19, 6 Major Differences between Christianity and the American Dream, 5 Powerful Prayers for Protection in the Storms of Life, Amazing Children's Choir Sings 'I Can Only Imagine', I'm Happy For You... (Not) - Crosswalk the Devotional - January 20, Prayers for President Joe Biden, on Inauguration Day and Beyond, 10 Things Never to Say to Your Adult Children, How to Cope When Your Spouse Is Driving You Crazy, 11 New Worship Songs to Bring You Closer to God, This site is a proud member of the Salem Web Network, a subsidiary of, Copyright © 2021, Crosswalk.com. Jordanian workers at Jordan's baptism site cleaning up after a recent flood. Qasr al-Yahud is the original baptism site that was … Also where was the Holy Spirit and God when Jesus was baptized? Years later, the prophet Elijah and his protégé Elisha retreated to the banks of the Jordan River, using the river as a natural barrier of protection against threats from Israel’s king. On the banks of the Jordan River where the Bible says Jesus was baptized, 15-foot-high reeds rustle in the wind. If Jesus was baptized near Jericho – as the Gospel of John indicates – then those young fishermen were roughly 70 miles from home! Almost two decades later, Israel reopened a much smaller area it identified as the baptism site directly across from the Jordanian location. It was also a key location in the ministry of Jesus (Matthew 4:13-22, Mark 4:1-34, Matthew 13:2, Matthew 5-7) and the setting for some of his greatest miracles (Mark 5:21-43, Luke 8:22-25, Luke 9:10-17, John 6:16-21). Right: A modern mosaic depicting the visit of Pope Francis to the baptism site in 2016 accompanied by members of Jordan's royal family. 2. Before the pandemic brought travel to a halt, tourist numbers had been rising. California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. 8. I24news reporter Uri Shapira reports. Moises Saman for NPR A huge Israeli flag waves above a platform at the West Bank site. '1st Time To See It Like This': Petra Tourism Workers Long For Visitors To Return, Animals Roam Free In Petra Heritage Site Under Jordan's COVID-19 Lockdown. Jesus' baptism occurred, then, on the opposite side of the Jordan from "Ainon near Salem." The Jordan River (Ha-Yarden in Hebrew) is an important geographical feature in the Middle East and key location in the history of Israel and the Bible. After the baptism, the Synoptic gospels describe the temptation of Jesus, where Jesus withdrew to the Judean desert to fast for forty days and nights. However, archeological evidence, historical writings, and the gospel accounts point to an area on the southern half of the Jordan River, about five and a half miles north of the Dead Sea and a little more than six miles southeast of the city of Jericho. Basil is believed to have grown near the cross where Jesus was crucified and is used for blessings. Why was Jesus’ baptism important?" This area, called “Bethany beyond Jordan” in John’s gospel, was rediscovered within the last 15 years after a peace treaty between Jordan and Israel demilitarized the area. Where Jesus Was Baptized, Jordan Vies With Israel For Tourists While UNESCO and the Vatican agree the site is in Jordan, a spot across the Jordan River, in … Part of Elijah's Hill on the grounds of Jordan's baptism site, where tradition says the Prophet Elijah ascended to heaven in a chariot of fire. The site includes early churches built by pilgrims to commemorate where Jesus was baptized. It was there, somewhere in between A.D. 26-29, that John the Baptist began his public ministry, baptizing people in the Jordan River at a place described in John’s gospel as “Bethany beyond the Jordan” (John 1:28). In Matthew 3:13-15, it says, “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.

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