Originally scheduled for July 24
In the history of Israel it would seem to be a very significant
event. We still use the phrase “crossing the Jordan” to signify an
important transition. For example, the phrase is used to describe
going from life to life eternal. Joshua details the original
crossing of the Jordan. In particular, this chapter describes
setting up a memorial to that event.
Setting up a memorial,
particularly made of stone, is a common practice among human beings.
If we want something to be remembered, we put up a marker. The
battlefield at Gettysburg has been described as a “marble orchard”
for all the monument set up to the various regiments who fought
there. This is something similar.
The memorial is made of 12
stones. Each stone was gathered by a member of one of the 12 tribes
from the place where the priests had stood with the Ark of the
Covenant in the middle of the Jordan. We can learn from this.
There were 12 stones, one for each tribe in Israel. From this we can
conclude that it was intended that everyone was to be represented
The stones were from the middle of the Jordan where the priests that
stood. They are therefore a fitting memorial to the miracle that
occurred there. It’s a way of getting as close as possible to the
The stones themselves mark a boundary. Their significance comes from
the fact that Israel crossed into the promised land at that point.
It is a memorial to a transition.
They were eventually taken to a
place known as Gilgal. This was just past the place they crossed
over. As Gilgal means “wheel” in Hebrew, we assume they set them up
in a circle. This signifies equality between the tribes, reinforced
by the fact that the stones were unmarked.
The stones are a
memorial, particularly one which is designed to be passed on from
generation to generation. “When your children ask…” You tell them
the story. You tell them the story which shows God’s power. You tell
them the story which shows God’s grace towards his people. You tell
them the story so that they will remember the God’s commands. The
memorial is to provoke teachable moments in your descendents.
Communion is very much parallel to this. It, too, is a memorial.
Like the stones, it is all inclusive. Any genuine Christian may
Like the stones, it marks a transition — the death, burial and
resurrection of Jesus Christ, the start of the new covenant.
Like the stones, it marks a boundary. If you take communion you are
saying you have crossed the boundary into being a Christian.
Like this ancient memorial its purpose is to cause you to remember.
You are to remember the power of God shown in the resurrection. You
are to remember the grace of God, shown in the death of Christ. You
are to remember the obedience you pledged to Him in return.
ask you: imagine that one of your children or grandchildren comes to
you and asks what communion is all about. Think of your answer;
contemplate it solemnly. Remember what he has done for you, and be
prepared to pass it on.