Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. John 5:24
The word translated “crossed over” above is metabainó. It comes from two other Greek words, metá and the base of the word “basis.” Literally, it means “with foot,” or in the plural, with feet.
John uses the word again here:
We know that we have passed from (metabainó) death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 1 John 3:14
To me, “with feet” is taking that first step in faith; it is like beginning your walk with the Lord. Crossing over with your feet into another life. The cool thing about the metá part is that it means “after with” implying that there is a “change afterward.” In other words, there is a result “after the activity,” and metá “looks towards the after-effect (change, result).” The “bainó” part of the word metabainó means “to walk, to go.” Beginning our walk with the Lord, crossing over from death to life, results, or should result, in a changed life.
Interestingly, the base of the word “bainó,” which is “basis,” means “a step,” hence, “a foot” (feet). This word is only used once in the Bible. It’s part of the story of someone who was called to walk for the first time, and was absolutely changed:1
One afternoon Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those entering the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money.
Peter looked directly at him, as did John. “Look at us!” said Peter. So the man gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!”
Taking him by the right hand, Peter helped him up, and at once the man’s feet and ankles were made strong. He sprang to his feet (basis) and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and leaping and praising God. Acts 3:1-8
I love that he didn’t just walk, he leapt and praised God for his new life. Another cool thing about feet and walking: when the Israelites following Joshua crossed over the flooded Jordan on foot – into their new land and new life – it was the feet of the priests touching the water that made the way for the people.
Then Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, “Take up the ark of the covenant and cross over before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people … and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest), that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. So the waters that went down into the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, failed, and were cut off; and the people crossed over opposite Jericho. Joshua 3:6, 15-16
Jesus, our High Priest, was and is himself the Ark, and he walked into the flood of suffering and death to make a Way through for us.
But let this sink in – we are priests too.
… but you shall be called the priests of the Lord; they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God … Isaiah 61:6
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. Revelation 1:5-6
We are the priests now carrying the ark – the Presence of God – into the world, into every situation, into the impassable, impossible flood, to help others to cross over from death to life. So, whether you have never walked and are sitting somewhere begging, or, if you have given up on God and have stopped on the side of the road in cynicism and despair, or (God help us!), if you are resting in the comfortable pew of self-righteousness: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!
… whoever hears my word and believes … has crossed over
How to cross over from death to life.
1All definitions from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and HELPS-studies by Discovery Bible.
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