Tower or Ladder….I’ll take the latter

You won’t believe it but I have finally finished the first chapter of John.  OK, to be honest, I have almost finished the first chapter of John.  I stopped on the 51st verse because I noticed something.  Also while we are being honest I stopped along the way but it was more personal revelation than something to share.

Anyway, here we go…….

He (Jesus) then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open up, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man”
John 1:51 NIV

So here’s the deal.  Jesus said things to the people of His day that to us does not always make sense.  When we read these things we have to do our best to try and understand what He was communicating to the people of His day.  This verse is a great example because this one of the first hints of His deity.  This one phrase is actually very important and I think we should take a look at it.

What does He mean?  Glad you asked.  To understand we need to flip a few pages back (actually almost all the way back) to Genesis and because I am a nice guy I have done it for us.

Then he (Jacob) dreamed, and behold a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
Genesis 28:12 NKJV

The scene continues where Jacob says that God was in that place and he did not notice, he then goes on to say this is the ‘Gate of Heaven’ and names the place Bethel which means House of God.  Now, why is this important to go back and read?  Because what Jesus is saying in John is I am the ladder Jacob saw….grasp.  Jesus just hinted at something beyond what all other teachers, religious teachers, and good men say.  He is affirming that He is all that Jacob saw and proclaimed.  That is pretty heavy and in case you think I am reading too much into it read Colossians 2:9.

This is a profound statement because every good Israelite knew the story of Jacob’s Ladder.  It’s like two plus two.  This simple looking statement has deep implications.  It was three days after this statement He performs His first earthly miracle.

What can we take away from this, though?  As a modern individual, where do we go with this?  Honestly, we go to the same place in my opinion, and I think it would help if we look at Genesis 11:4.

Genesis 11:4 is where we learn about the Tower of Babel and the consequences of this failed building project.  This was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken and it was also one of the greatest failures ever recorded.  I mean it is such a stunning failure that the name of the man in charge is now an insult (Nimrod).  This was a horrible, horrible failure.  Not many things have failed this bad.  Get the point?  This was stupid.  But what was it that failed?  What was so dumb?  If you guessed the tower itself you are wrong but I won’t call you a Nimrod.  It’s OK because the first time I read those verses I honestly thought that was the problem, and in part that is true.  The big issue here is not so much the building but what the building represents.  What the builders were attempting to do was meet God on their terms.  They had been commanded to spread out and reproduce on the earth, you know the whole be fruitful and multiply deal.  Instead, they stayed together and said we will do what we want and we will go to God and tell Him we stayed.  We will go to God on our terms and by our strength.  God disagreed, and not just in a ‘come on guys’ kind of way.  He was pretty adamant about wanting them to spread out.

When we look at the Tower of Babel and the Ladder to Heaven that is Jesus we have a pretty black and white contrast.  The tower is mankind’s attempt to reach up to God, while Jesus is God reaching out to us.  It does not get much clearer than that to me.  Seeing as there are two options here I think I take the Ladder, please.

Just a thought,
Mike

 

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