A story is told of a man named Naaman, a valiant warrior, found in 2 Kings Chapter five. It seems he was highly respected by the king of Aram because by him the Lord brought him victory. Even though Naaman was a great man he had one thing that wasn’t so great about him; he was a leper.
One day Naaman told his king there was a prophet in Israel that could cure him of his leprosy so the King made arrangements and sent him to see Elisha. He took with him silver, gold and several garments so he would have something to give the prophet. When Naaman arrived at Elisha the Prophet’s house he came with quite the display of goods. It was quite the fanfare as he came with his horses and his chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house.
Of course Naaman was expecting Elisha to come out and do some extravagant demonstration in order to cure him but that isn’t exactly what happened. Instead Elisha sent out one of his servants to tell Naaman “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh will be restored to you and you will be clean.” Naaman became furious about this because, not only did Elisha not want his goods, he didn’t even come outside to see him, and on top of that he thought “There are better rivers in Damascus then this dirty Jordan river. Why couldn’t I go and wash in them?” Naaman thought he should be involved a little more in his healing. He wanted to give Elisha some gold and silver and he also wanted to be the one to choose how and where he would dip in a river. Isn’t this like most of us? We want to participate in our salvation; it is just too simple to do what God is telling us to do.
Naaman left in a rage but his servant was apparently filled with wisdom because he told him, “My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So Naaman went ahead and did what he had been told; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean.
Now I took the time to tell this tale because today it was brought to my attention how this is a picture of another dipping, if you will. In Romans 6 we are told “All of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death.” You see the Bible tells us “The preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
We might think we wouldn’t get angry like Naaman did but we would still think dipping in the Jordan couldn’t be the way to wholeness. If you had leprosy and you looked at it and then looked at the Jordan River you would probably think this is foolish. There is no way this is going to work. There must be something else I can do. It is the same with salvation through Christ and his work on the cross. Let’s face it on the surface it seems pretty foolish doesn’t it?
How can a man dying on a cross save me? I think it all boils down to our ego having to be dealt with. We are so prideful we think we can come up with some better way, but God is saying, No! You have to receive my son for there is no other way. He is the only way. You must humble yourself and place your faith in his finished work. Accept the fact that I have joined you to him in his death, burial and resurrection.
Just like Naaman finally relented and dipped himself in the Jordan, we must by faith, be baptized into Christ. Even as Naaman came up out of the water with his flesh restored like a little child we have been raised with Christ as a brand new creature. Although this may sound a little foolish to the natural ear it is nothing but glorious music to the spiritual ear.
Sometimes our pride gets the best of us. Of course the only way into the Kingdom of God is by humility. Jesus said, “Unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” What do you say we simply receive the gift of salvation and recognize there is no other way but Jesus Christ and him crucified.
Written by Louie