Jesus as Jacob's Ladder
And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the
angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
We have been studying the gospel of John in Sunday school lately. We were talking through the first chapter, when this verse struck me. I have read it before, but I had never really taken notice of it. As I read the verse this time, I was shocked by how much meaning is stuff in this short verse.
When Jesus says this he is drawing our attention back to Jacob's ladder. Jacob's ladder was vision of Jacob's at Bethel. Jacob saw a ladder that stretch from Earth to Heaven. Jacob saw angels moving up and down this ladder between Heaven and Earth.
Nathaniel comes to meet Jesus. He is doubtful that anything good could come from Nazareth. Jesus must have sensed his doubt. He reveals to Nathaniel, a vision that Jesus had of Nathaniel under a fig tree. Nathaniel confesses that Jesus is the Son of God and King of Israel. It seems to me that Jesus is shocked that Nathaniel is so easily convinced, and so he kind of says wait till you see what is coming next!
So what is Jesus trying to say in this verse?
Jesus is saying that he is Jacob's ladder. Nathaniel is right in calling Jesus the Son of God and King of Israel, but Jesus is revealing that it means far more than Nathaniel thinks. Jesus is the connection between Heaven and Earth. He is the bridge that will connect Humanity to the Divine. Later in John's gospel he will say that he is "The Way".
As I think of the angels ascending and descending, I think of the two way relationship that Jesus creates between man and God. I think of the angels ascending as our prayers going up to the Father. Jesus acts as our mediator, and carries our prayers to the Father. As the angels are descending, I think of the blessings of the Father returning to us through Christ.
Hold on tight Nathaniel. That kind of how I think of Jesus making this statement. Wait till you see all that you are about to see. You are about to see Jesus bust open heaven. Jesus is about to connect Heaven and Earth. He will bring men to God. He will act as mediator between God and Man. So much packed into this verse, it is just amazing.
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