For centuries “crossing the Jordan”, or “crossing to the other side” has been a euphemism for death. In reality, it is better than that. It is a picture of going to the Promised Land. In the case of Christians, it is not a picture of death, but a picture of going to be with the Lord, to our Promised Land.
The first miraculous crossing of a body of water was the crossing of the Red Sea to escape the Egyptian army. In Joshua, chapter three, we find the first miraculous crossing of the Jordan by the Children of Israel as they entered the Promised Land. The crossing of the Jordan is the foundation of the sayings quoted above.
Elijah dramatically crossed the Jordan before he was taken up by a chariot of fire to be with the Lord. Elijah took his cloak and struck the water with it. The waters parted and he and Elisha crossed to the other side, where Elijah was taken up by the Chariot of the Lord. (II Kings 2:12) Because Elijah did not die and because of the prophecy of Malachi 4:5, many believe that Elijah will be one of the Two Witnesses of the Revelation.
Please note that even before the Children of Israel crossed into the Promised Land, the Lord took Moses home. Moses did not “cross the Jordan”. Is this an indication that Moses will be one of the Two Witnesses?
In John, chapter ten, Jesus declared Himself and God the Father to be as One. (John 10:30) For this the Jews picked up stones to kill Jesus. In verse thirty-nine they tried to seize Him, but He escaped their grasp. After this Jesus went back across the Jordan. (John 10:40) When He was on the other side of the river, He received word that His friend Lazarus was very ill. Jesus waited for two days. Then He came back across the Jordan and went to the village of Bethany. According to Peloubet, Bethany means “house of misery”. There Jesus performed the miracle with which we are so familiar. Even though Lazarus had been dead four days (John 11:38), Jesus resurrected him.
It is interesting that Jesus delayed His return because the Jews have a “tradition” that the spirit of a dead person lingers near the body for three days. By waiting until the fourth day Jesus made it very clear that the resurrection of Lazarus was a supernatural event done by the power of God through Jesus, and not just a coincidental “re-awakening”.
As wonderful as it is, this story is also a picture for us today. After His rejection by the Jews, Jesus escaped their grasp and “went back across the Jordan”. He went back to the Promised Land from whence He came. Then He waited two days to return and resurrect the dead.
What a picture! Moses and Peter both said that with the Lord a thousand years are but a day. The Jews rejected the Messiah. They caused Him to be crucified. He went back to the Heavenly realm where He now sits at the right hand of God. He has received word of our world that is ill unto death from sin. After two (millennial) days He will return to this “house of misery” to resurrect His dead friends. This time those resurrected will be the Church, the Bride of Christ.
Say, hasn’t it been about two-thousand years since Jesus went home to be with the Lord? Glory to His Name! Maranatha!