“Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.”
2 Kings 5:10
Which is better for a meal?
Well, I guess it kind of depends. If I want a good hamburger, I’ve been told I should go to In-and-Out Burger.
But I live in Chicago. There are no In-and-Out Burgers near here. The closest one (as of this writing) is in Arizona.
Culvers, on the other hand, also has good hamburgers. Maybe not as good as In-and-Out burger, but they’re not bad. And there’s a Culvers right here in town, about 5 miles from where I live.
Still, some will tell me that the ultimate burger is found at In-and-Out Burger. The problem is that I would have to drive about 3 or 4 days to get that burger.
I would only have to drive 3 or 4 minutes to get a Culvers hamburger.
Naaman is a decorated general in the Syrian army. He has orchestrated many successful battles. In addition to this the Lord has used Naaman to chastise and discipline his people when they have sinned and fallen away from him.
But Naaman has a problem. He has a skin disease. The English Bible calls it leprosy but it is unclear if that is exactly what it was.
He would love nothing more than to be healed of his leprosy (or whatever it was).
A prisoner of war, a young woman from Israel, tells Naaman’s king that there is a prophet in Israel who can heal him. The king petitions Elisha the prophet on behalf of his beloved general.
Elisha responds by telling him that the Lord will heal Naaman. All Naaman has to do is wash himself seven times in the Jordan River.
But the Jordan River is 4 or 5 days travel away! Naaman can’t understand why he has to travel so far for this miracle. After all, there are rivers just as good in Syria and they are right here!
Naaman’s servants tell him, “Didn’t the Lord tell you to simply wash seven times in the Jordan River? That’s all you have to do and you are balking at a little walking?”
Naaman concedes and does as Elisha prescribes. He travels to the Jordan River. He washes himself in the Jordan River seven times.
And he is healed!
How many times have I missed a miracle from God because I felt that God’s way was too easy to be true!
After all, aren’t we always told to avoid things that are “too good to be true”?
Yet, in God’s case, it really is as simple as it sounds.
A splash of water and the words, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” will save you from your sins and give you eternal life.
I know, it sounds simple, simplistic, and too good to be true. But it is true!
As Peter says, “Baptism now saves you” (1 Peter 3:21).
Which is to say, God saves you through Baptism. When you are baptised you are baptized into the death of Jesus. You are buried with Jesus through baptism in order that just as Christ is raised from the dead by the glory of the Father so you, too, will be raised to new life.
We may think we have to do many elaborate things to get salvation. Praying so many prayers, giving so much money to the church, traveling to so many pilgrimage sights, do so many good things.
But God’s way is simple. Water and Word. Faith in Christ strengthened by the Means of Grace.
Yes, God’s way is simple.
But God’s way is better!
Heavenly Father, your way seems so simple, seems too simple. But help me to see and believe that your way is better because it is your way; through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.
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