The morning of the Sunday, in which my son was baptized, I sang in my head, "I'm gonna lay down my burdens, down by the river side; down by the river side; down by the riverside......." You all know the song. Then, I began to ponder my son's baptism. The song I sang was about baptism, I believe. The river is where a lot baptisms took place back in the day, especially in the country. What I imagine is one taking his/her sins, transgressions, etc and dropping them on the banks of the river, then wading into that river to be relieved and cleansed of said burdens. This thought came to me as I pondered all the teachings I have yet to share with my kids, especially my son, as he has accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and is being baptized. The river is meant to be crossed. Many of us lay our burdens down, wade out, get baptized, only to return to the same shore and pick up old burdens to lug around; never making it to where God truly wants us to be. In doing so, we never allow ourselves to be in the place where the Holy Spirit can truly be experienced, leading us into the greatness God has in store. We are left with a preschool understanding of God that we treat as a doctorate level degrees.
The life that God desires for us is across the river, where Jesus says, "My yoke is easy and My burden is light." The place across the river is vast and free from the burdens of your past. Jesus Christ is the river, and on the other side is God, waiting to make Himself known to you. The depth of God goes beyond all that you've learned thus far, in your life. Some may disagree or think I'm crazy, but the depth of God goes even beyond our Bibles. Think about it. Your Bible today, is not the same as it was a century ago. I can even attest to the fact that my Bible today is not the same as the Bible I had in the early 80's. Since the first century, books of the Bible and historical accounts of God's people have been lost, found, destroyed, added to our Bibles, and removed from our Bibles.
As a teenager, I stopped taking people's words for it. I began to weigh and test the words of pastors, priests, teachers, and preachers against the very Word of which they spoke. I began to weigh the operations of religious organizations against the very Word, out of which they claim to be established. Then, I began to read the books that I no longer find in my Bible of today. I read Enoch, Jasher, Maccabees, Jubilees and others. Then, I came across "The Testaments of the Patriarchs." Yes, I've weighed them all against the Word, as we've known it. Then I ask, "What prophecies do you think were studied for us to have been expectant of Christ Jesus? What prophecies do you think the major and minor prophets of today's Bible alluded to, in their teachings, warnings, and admonishments? My point is simply this, KNOW more than what you're told and what you are told to study. There is no end to God. Therefore, your learning of him has no end.
CROSS THE RIVER!! I remember attending a discipleship class at a church I used to attend. The instructor made it a point to proclaim the the King James Version of the Bible is the truest, most accurate translation and all others are not to be trusted. "Really dude?" So, to start off a course that should be about Jesus, ultimately, you make it about Bible versions, as if Jesus can only be truly found in one?? "Cut it out!" I'm not an expert, and I'm certainly not perfect, but my quest for knowledge is never ending. In comparison to countries like Israel, Turkey, Italy, Ethiopia, Palestine, Egypt and Greece, America is still a baby from a historical standpoint. I won't go too deep into that right now. Guess what I don't find on the other side of the River, Christ? Limited Bibles, which come with limited teaching. I find God working Himself into me via His amazing Holy Spirit. Accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior is God cleaning you up, clothing you with the right mind, heart, and eyes for the journey He's set forth for you. Yet, you will never know unless you cross that River.
Those who have ears, let them hear.......
Bryan Hollomon Williams