", "To be honest, over there you don't have what we have here," he says, pointing to the western bank of the river. 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). Monday’s Feast of the Baptism of the Lord marked the official end of the Christmas season. Jesus' baptism site overlooking the Jordan River, 6 miles north of the Dead Sea. Jesus is baptized in the Jordan (Mat 3:13-17; Mk 1:9-11; Lk 3:21-23).Map of the Ministry of Jesus … It shows the baptism site on the east side of the Jordan River in what is now Jordan. I24news reporter Uri Shapira reports. Jordanian workers at Jordan's baptism site cleaning up after a recent flood. Were present there in love. The Bible tells us, “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. Where was Jesus Baptized? Every year following the Epiphany, all the Faithful celebrate this holy event as the Feast of Baptism of the Lord. Qasr al-Yahud is the original baptism site that was … 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 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. Suddenly, he appeared on the scene, walking up to John in the River Jordan. 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. – John 10:40-42. The West Bank, home to more than 3 million Palestinians and hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers, remains under Israeli occupation. Israel and international agencies removed thousands of land mines from the site and it reopened to visitors. Beyond the main river flow, however, shallow pools and smaller tributaries are common in the Jordan. 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. 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. 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. It is an area just east of Jericho and near Elijah's Hill where tradition states Elijah was taken to heaven by a whirlwind. Israel's roughly 750,000 visitors a year to its baptism site and surrounding monasteries dwarf the roughly 250,000 who visit Jordan's baptism site annually. Question: "Why was Jesus baptized? Prince Ghazi, a first cousin of the king, developed the site of Bethany Beyond the Jordan in the 1990s. 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). He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire" (Mathew 3:11). Once across, the Israelites began the conquest of Canaan that followed. John wanted his readers to know where the ministry of Jesus had all begun. 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). Anyone who refused the baptism of John was publicly admitting their unbelief; the fourth reason Jesus was baptized was to separate the Jewish believers from the Jewish unbelievers (Luke 7:29-30). He says that has already been settled — Jordan's side of the river is the baptism site. If Jesus was perfect, and John was baptizing with water for repentance (Matthew 3:11), then why was Jesus baptized? Not only did Jesus’ baptism serve as a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and a confirmation of his divinity as the Son of God, the baptism of Jesus is generally seen as the beginning of Christ’s public ministry. He came to John to be baptized, but John told him, "I need to be baptized by you." 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 … Though, in recent months, both the Jordanian and Israeli-run sites have been empty of visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic. Jesus at the Jordan River. At the river, Elijah took his coat and struck the waters, which soon parted for them to cross. What Is Palm Sunday and What Does it Have to Do with Easter? 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. The huge site has been left deliberately largely pristine, dotted with bulrushes and palm trees. In fact, John the Baptist recognizes that Jesus does not need to be baptized (Matthew 3:14). hide caption. But across the river, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, there is a rival — not just laying claim to Jesus' baptism site but also to millions of dollars in annual tourist revenue. At the Jordanian site, the Baptism Site Commission's ebullient director, Rustom Mkhjian, greets workers pouring bleach into a marble baptismal font on the river bank, sterilizing it for an eventual reopening after the pandemic. 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. Until this time, Jesus had spent most of his earthly life in quiet obscurity. Moises Saman for NPR 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. Israel's Tourism Ministry and its national parks website have marketed that side of the river as "the site where, according to tradition, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist." The small structure on the right was described as, “…at the edge of the river is a small square church, built, as is said, on the spot where the garments of the Lord were taken care of at the time when He was baptized. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a … 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. The best answer? With a double portion of Elijah’s spirit and coat in hand, Elisha struck the waters of the Jordan River to return to the western banks and begin his own ministry (2 Kings 2:12-14). Report. A huge Israeli flag waves above a platform at the West Bank site. Article Images Copyright ©. hide caption. hide caption. According to John 1:29–34, Jesus came to John the Baptist on the east side of the Jordan and was baptized by him. As Jesus rose from the water of the river, "heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him." There are at least two things that Matthew makes plain about John’s baptism which are relevant for why Jesus would insist on submitting to this baptism.First, Matthew 3:6 says that people were coming to be baptized confessing their sins. "I see pilgrims from the Israeli side moving to the Jordanian side and vice versa," the president said in a statement. So let’s let Matthew guide us in answering the question: Why did Jesus insist on being baptized by John? Nearby is the site where many authorities believe that Jesus was baptized by John. Moises Saman for NPR hide caption. "They come up after the heavy rain," Mkhjian says of ancient coins. In fact, the Jordan River is a major setting for two major Old Testament stories. ", 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. In Matthew 3:13-15, it says, “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 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. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:7-8). Jordanian workers at Jordan's baptism site cleaning up after a recent flood. The Madaba mosaic is the oldest known map of the Holy Land, which places Jesus' baptism in present-day Jordan. The Vatican and Orthodox Christian patriarchs have given their blessings to the site as the spot where the defining moment of Christianity began. Bible Study Resources - Tips, Online Bible Search, Devotions. 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). Down in the River Jordan, Three members of the Godhead. From core beliefs to what the Bible says about angels, we want to provide easy to read and understand articles that answer your questions about Christian living. The Bethany where Jesus was baptized is on the other side of the Jordan, on the east bank of the river. Thanks! 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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. And as soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. 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. In Matthew 3:14, upon meeting Jesus, John said: "I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?" The baptism of Jesus in 26 AD puts the timeline of Jesus life clearly in the crosshairs of the 70 Weeks of Daniel prophecy. 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. To be baptized in the same place where Jesus was baptized, is a uniquely spiritual moment for the Christian believer. The site has been closed to visitors since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic and parts of the site have been sterilized. On the banks of the Jordan River where the Bible says Jesus was baptized, 15-foot-high reeds rustle in the wind. 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. He has told us, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” . However, Jesus convinces John to baptize him nonetheless. When Jesus came to John for baptism, John protested his unworthiness, and did so only on Jesus’ insistence. The Baptism of Jesus is not the only noteworthy biblical event to feature the Jordan River. Matthew. Workers maintaining the grounds of the baptism site, a major religious pilgrimage tourist destination in Jordan. The marble font is used for baptizing infants who cannot be baptized in the river. 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. Jordan, a resource-poor country, depends heavily on tourism, one of its biggest sources of jobs. Virtually all modern scholars of … At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. The matter of Jesus’ baptism can be confusing for some people. Basil is believed to have grown near the cross where Jesus was crucified and is used for blessings. At Bethany beyond the Jordan, John the Baptist preached a message of repentance and confession of sin, symbolized by water baptism, but in doing so, he also directed his listeners to expect the arrival of the coming messiah promising, “after me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. He didn’t have anything to repent of! 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. 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. When we are baptized, we make a covenant, or promise, to Heavenly Father to: “come into the … 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). Through sacred priesthood pow’r. But Jesus insisted on being baptized by John, saying, "It is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Mkhjian says they have tried to maintain the wildness of the site in the spirit that John the Baptist knew it. It shows the baptism site on the east side of the Jordan River in what is now Jordan. 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. '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. 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. 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. Joel Ryan is an LA-based children’s and young adult author who teaches writing at Life Pacific University. 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. Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Christopher-Sprake. 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. Workers maintaining the grounds of the baptism site, a major religious pilgrimage tourist destination in Jordan. The Beginning of His Ministry The Jordan . Jesus, in the process of being baptized by John, is the central figure of the painting, despite the fact that he is kneeling in the left. 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. Mkhjian points out an area known as Elijah's Hill, reputed to be where the Bible says Prophet Elijah ascended to heaven in a flaming chariot. A worker cleaning debris from the gravel approaches him to matter-of-factly give him a coin he has just found – possibly Byzantine or Roman — to be sent to the site's small museum. He was the son, so … This question is dividing Israelis and Jordanians who claim the site is on their side of the Jordan River. As gently as a dove. The apostle John writes: ...there he stayed, and many people came to him. 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. "We as a royal commission will never turn this site into Disneyland," he says. Does the Bible Actually Mention Seven Deadly Sins? Yes, it’s here when the skies opened up and a dove flew around when Jesus Christ emerged from the water. A personal request from me: Unfortunately as a guide I have not worked since February. The site has been closed to tourists and pilgrims because of the coronavirus pandemic but staff are preparing it for an eventual reopening. Once exiting the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River winds through the Judean countryside, fed by two major tributaries, the Yarmouk and Jabbok (Genesis 32:22) to the east, until it eventually connects with the Dead Sea, where it ends. 2. And the river has changed course over time, meaning the bend in the river where Jesus is thought to have been baptized is now on dry land. 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. Almost two decades later, Israel reopened a much smaller area it identified as the baptism site directly across from the Jordanian location. 8. But the Jordan River is lower than it was, with water being pulled for agriculture on both sides. Qasr el Yahud is furnished with facilities required to … 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. The marble font is used for baptizing infants who cannot be baptized in the river. "The River Jordan is the River Jordan. After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness as punishment for failing to trust in the Lord following the Exodus from Egypt, the next generation of Israelites were finally instructed by God to enter the Promised Land. I said unless the tourists spend three nights in Jordan I'm not opening it just so you can walk over. 5 years ago | 2 views. Moises Saman for NPR The president's spokesman told NPR that regional and religious leaders also supported the project. Where was Jesus baptized? 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. 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. 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. Right: A modern mosaic depicting the visit of Pope Francis to the baptism site in 2016 accompanied by members of Jordan's royal family. 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? The site has been closed to tourists and pilgrims because of the coronavirus pandemic but staff are preparing it for an eventual reopening. hide caption. Joel is passionate about fueling young people’s passion for the Lord through storytelling and the arts. 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. hide caption. They had come to Jerusalem for one of the festivals and were returning home when they met Jesus. The site includes early churches built by pilgrims to commemorate where Jesus was baptized. Jesus would have been roughly 30 years old at the time of his baptism. John’s baptism was the baptism of repentance (Matthew 3:11), but Jesus was sinless and had no need of repentance. 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. Jesus didn’t leave John, or future believers, without an answer. Prince Ghazi says future plans could include creating a new religious ritual that would include crossing the River Jordan the way Jesus is believed to have as a key element. And then he quotes John in Matthew 3:11: “I baptize you with wa… Jesus was right here to be baptized. 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. They said, ‘Though John (the Baptist) never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.’ And in that place many believed in Jesus. 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. The fullest description of the baptism of Jesus is given in Matthew 3. Can Loved Ones in Heaven Look Down on You? "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. The Baptism of Jesus Christ, described in all four Gospels, took place in the Jordan River, just a few miles north of the Dead Sea and roughly six miles east of Jericho. NPR International Correspondent Daniel Estrin contributed reporting from Jerusalem. "It's not a competition issue, please don't misunderstand," says Mkhjian. If Jesus was baptized near Jericho – as the Gospel of John indicates – then those young fishermen were roughly 70 miles from home! Once safe on the eastern side, Elijah was taken up into heaven in a whirlwind and chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:11). We want the tourists to spend three nights in Jordan, experience the other holy sites in Jordan, come to Jordan, spend some money.". 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. 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. Jesus' baptism site overlooking the Jordan River, 6 miles north of the Dead Sea. i24NEWS (English) Follow. 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. Israel also claims a similar spot on the west side of the river. 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. The Jordan River. 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). The negotiations stalled over how much time tourists would spend in Jordan. John the Baptist water baptized Jesus Christ in order to manifest Him as Israel’s Messiah (Luke 3:21-22; John 1:29-33). It’s difficult to know the exact location of Jesus’ baptism. The Father spoke from heaven. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’ – Matthew 3:16-17. Before the pandemic brought travel to a halt, tourist numbers had been rising. And he says Palestinian authorities would have to agree to any tourism deal Jordan wants to forge with Israel. Basil is believed to have grown near the cross where Jesus was crucified and is used for blessings. 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. And now when I am baptized, I’ll follow his example— Be baptized by immersion. The site has been closed to visitors since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic and parts of the site have been sterilized. 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). 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. But we are talking about the witness of John. Today, Al-Maghtas, meaning “baptism” or “immersion” in Arabic, is the most probable location of John the Baptist’s ministry and Jesus’ baptism, though many in present-day Israel argue that Qasr el Yahud on the western banks is the actual site. 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. "You don't have the cave where John lived ... you don't have churches built after the baptism of Jesus that were very accurately described by early pilgrims. Jesus' baptism occurred, then, on the opposite side of the Jordan from "Ainon near Salem." Apostle John writes:... there he stayed, and John was baptizing with water being for. The baptism site, they 've started building this other site across the way and ferrying the are... Been settled — Jordan 's side of the Bible tells us, as... Jesus convinces John to be baptized ( Matthew 3:14 ) it have to Do with?! 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