The twelve stones out of Jordan: remembrance of the death of Jesus on this side of Jordan
But if we are introduced
into a life which is on the other side of death, by the
power of the Spirit of God, as being dead and risen in
Christ, there must be the remembrance of that death, by
which we have been delivered from that which is on this
side of it, of the ruin of man as he now is, and of the
fallen creation to which he belongs. Twelve men, one out
of each tribe, were to bring stones from the midst of
Jordan, from the place where the priests' feet stood firm
with the ark, while all Israel passed over on dry ground.
The Holy Ghost brings with Him, so to speak, the touching
memorial of the death of Jesus, by the mighty power of
which He has turned all the effect of the enemy's
strength into life, and deliverance from what could not
enter into heavenly things, and has laid the basis for
our having part in them. Death comes with us from the
grave of Jesus: no longer now as death, it is become life
unto us, and, subjectively for faith, the absence of that
which cannot have part in what is heavenly. This memorial
was to be set up at Gilgal. The meaning of this
circumstance will be considered in the next chapter. We
will only dwell here on the memorial itself. The twelve
stones, for the twelve tribes, represented the tribes of
God as a whole. This number is the symbol of perfection
in human agency, in connection here, as elsewhere, with
Christ, as in the case of the shewbread.
remembrance of the Lord's death
Here also the Spirit sets
usChristiansin a more advanced position.
There were twelve loaves of the shewbread, and we form
but one in our life of union by the Holy Ghost with
Christ our Head, which is the life we speak of here. Now
it is His death that is recalled to us in the memorial
left us by the loving-kindness of our Lord, who
condescends to value our remembrance of His love.
I only speak here of this
memorial as the sign of that which should always be a
reality. We eat His flesh, we drink His life given for us.
Being one now in the power of our union with Christ risen
and glorified, for here I speak of our whole place, dead
to the world and to sin, it is from the bottom of the
river into which He went down to make it the way of life-heavenly
lifefor us, that we bring back the precious
memorial of His love, and of the place in which He
fulfilled His work. It is a body whose life by blood is
closed  which we eat, a poured out blood
which we drink; and this is the reason why blood was
entirely prohibited, to Israel after the flesh; for how
can death be drunk by those who are mortal? But we drink
it because, alive with Him, through the death of Christ
we live, and it is in realising the death of that which
is mortal that we live with Him. The remembrance of
Jordan, of death when Christ was in it, is the
remembrance of that power which secured our salvation in
the last stronghold of him who had the power of death. It
is the remembrance of that love which went down into
death, in order that, as to us, it should lose all its
power, except that of doing us good, and being a witness
unto us of infinite and unchangeable love.
 The word "broken"
is wrongly introduced in the common text. It was after He
had given up His spirit to the Father, in full strength,
that the blood was shed through the soldier's spear. He
laid down His life of Himself.