Description / Transcription
O Lord, Your Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Your testimonies are our heritage forever. They are the joy of our hearts. We incline our hearts to perform your statutes forever, to the end. We open our mouths and pant because we long for Your commandments. Turn to us, we pray, and be gracious to us as is Your way with those who love Your Name. Speak, O Lord, for Your people are listening. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Sometimes you think you are on one kind of journey and it turns out you are on a very different kind of journey. In 384 Augustin moved from Rome to teach rhetoric in the imperial city of Milan. It was a good career move for Augustin. He wasn’t terribly happy in Rome and he had been given this appointment and he was grateful for it. He didn’t move to Milan because he was hoping to become convinced of Christianity. He grew up with a godly mother but he had since rejected his Christian upbringing and was living a life according to his own pleasure and chasing after various philosophies of the world.
But when he got to Milan he sought out Ambrose, not because he was hoping to learn Christianity from Ambrose but because of his oratorical skills, and then he became intrigued by his preaching, until finally in 386 as the famous story tells us, Augustin heard a voice in the garden, “tolle lege,” “pick up and read.” He picked up a Bible, he read from Romans, he was convicted of his sin, he became a Christian. He was baptized the following Easter.
Augustin’s life, and indeed it’s not an exaggeration to say the history of the world, would never be the same. He was on one sort of journey, just a career move from Rome to Milan, but God had him on a very different kind of journey.
In 1505, after receiving his law degree, Martin Luther decided he would travel from Erfurt to Mansfield to visit his family. During the journey he was caught in a violent thunderstorm. It was so violent he thought that God had unleashed the storm to take his life. He called out famously to St. Anne, who was the patron saint of miners, among other things, and his father owned a mine, and Luther said, “Help me, St. Anne, and I will become a monk.” God saved Luther from the storm and so Luther put aside his law degree and he became an Augustinian monk.
Now he was years away from really grasping what we now call the truths of the Reformation, but this event set him on a spiritual trajectory, that again would change his life and not an exaggeration to say would change the world as he set aside law and he pursued Christian ministry.
In 1536, after a trip to France, a young Christian and an academic by the name of John Calvin decided he was going to settle down in the German city of Strausberg. He was looking forward to a quiet life of productive scholarship. But, as providence would have it, the normal road that he would have traveled from France to Strausberg was closed due to some military exercises and so he had to seek the German city by another route, which took him through the city of Geneva, and there he met the fiery preacher William Farel, who implored Calvin, and in fact hurled upon him various threats and curses upon his quiet, scholarly life if he would not help them. So really against his better judgment, Calvin relented and he gave the most, most of the rest of his life to reforming the city of Geneva, changing his life and again not an exaggeration to say changing the history of the world.
Now for most of us, our redirections don’t usually change the course of human history, but they can change our lives and sometimes the lives of our family and friends and those around us. Sometimes you think you are on one type of journey. You’re simply making a job change, like Augustin was. Or you’re just setting out to visit family, like Luther. Or you’re just relocating to your forever home, as Calvin thought he was. You’re on one sort of journey, but God has you on a very different sort of journey.
You may think you are simply trying to get from point A to point B. But God actually means to change you from person A to person B. You think you’re on one sort of journey, and God has you on a very different sort of journey. That’s what we find often in history.
You may have found in your life, and perhaps you are even in one of those spots this morning. Maybe you’re here because you’re a student and you moved here. Maybe like so many people you decided, “Huh, let’s look on a map. I can do my job from wherever. Where do they have four seasons? Where are people fairly nice? Where are there lots of Chick-fil-As? Let’s see. Okay. Let’s do Charlotte. That seems to work.” And you came here seeking sunshine or better schools or a different way of life. You’re on one sort of journey, but God has you on a very different sort of journey.
That’s what we read about in our text this morning from Genesis 28. Follow along as I read from verses 10 through 22.
“Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.””
“So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called the name of that place Bethel, but the name of the city was Luz at the first. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.””
I want to look at this story in three parts: The journey, the dream, and the man.
We’ll start with the journey. We see Jacob is retracing the route that his grandfather Abraham made 125 years ago as he came down from Haran to Beersheba into the Promised Land, and now Jacob is going back. He’s fleeing from Esau, remember. His brother wants to kill him for tricking him out of his blessing and his birthright. That’s mainly why he’s leaving home, but a secondary reason is his mother has said, “We want you to get a wife from one of our own family, not from one of these Hittite women like your brother Esau has done.” So he’s returning back to his ancestral home, on his way to Rebekah’s family in the town of Haran in the region of Paddan Aram.
But before he fully makes it out of Canaan, out of the Promised Land, we read in verse 11 he came to a certain place. We don’t know exactly where it is, but it will be named Bethel. It’s night. He needs to stop. The sun is down. So he takes one of the stones of the place and put it under his head. Strange to think how that could be very comfortable, to have a stone pillow, but it’s meant to tell us something of all that Jacob has lost.
In fact, there’s a parallel that you can pretty easily make between this story and the parable that Jesus tells millennia later that we know as the Prodigal Son, because here we have this son Jacob, the younger son, and he had everything. Remember that Abraham and Isaac had grown to acquire great wealth. They were famous people in the land. They were like kings in their own right. Surely Jacob is leaving behind all of this wealth, all of this prosperity, and he hardly has a staff to his name. So just as the prodigal son, as Jesus tells it, will end up with the pigs, this son who is fleeing for his life ends up sleeping one night, and instead of a comfortable bed, instead of the lavish provisions of his prosperous household, all he has is a stone pillow for his head.
Here he has a dream, and the dream is going to reorient Jacob’s life. He thinks he is on one sort of journey. He set out thinking, “I am on a physical, geographic journey. I need to come from Beersheba in the south, travel through this land, up around to the north, and return to my father’s, my mother’s ancestral home in Paddan Aram. I am on a geographical journey to flee my brother and to find a wife.” That’s the sort of trip he thinks he’s on.
But it turns out that God has him on a very different kind of journey, which is not chiefly geographical, but is spiritual.
Which leads us to the second, the dream.
Famously, he has a stairway to heaven, no guitar solos right now. A stairway to heaven. Or translated, a ladder. It was probably more like a staircase. It may or may not have been like the, we call them ziggurats, those sort of stone temples with the staircase going up. But it was some sort of staircase leading into the heavens, and there he sees angels ascending up the steps, descending down the steps. This is a place of divine encounter.
What are angels? Well, the very name means they are messengers, they are the Lord’s winds of fire. They deliver messages. They come and represent God or they deliver messages from God, messages to God. They do the Lord’s bidding.
So the fact that he sees angels going up and coming down means that this is an aperture. This is an opening into the heavens. This is a way of communication. This is a divine courier service. This is a smartphone dropping down out of heaven and it’s got one number on it and it’s God’s phone number. There you go, Jacob. It’s a revelation. It’s a communication.
By God’s initiation, this ladder drops down, which is a symbol of revelation, God bringing to Jacob something of himself, and then in response communication, that this ladder means that God can come down to man and might it also mean that man might have access to come up to God? That’s the significance of the stairway to heaven.
The Lord speaks to Jacob and He makes promises. It’s the same three promises we’ve seen over and over again, both to Abraham several times, then to Isaac. He promises him progeny, parcels of land, that’s a P, and presence. He says, “I will give you offspring, I will give you this land,” and then ultimately, the heart of the promise, is this Immanuel principle, “I will be with you.” Progeny, parcels of land, and My presence. He says to him, verse at, “I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” In other words, you cannot out travel My protection.
Sorry to think football. There were some good games yesterday. I won’t go into it for my beloved executive pastor, but there were some good games. You sometimes hear in football, you out kick your coverage, you’ve out kicked the people who are supposed to tackle and then they come and they run the ball back the other way.
God says here to Jacob, “You cannot out kick My protection. You cannot out travel My provision, you cannot escape My promise. I will be with you. I will give to you these things.”
Now remember, Jacob has done nothing to this point. Actually, that’s not true. He’s done worse than nothing. What he has done to this point has been self-serving, manipulative, and yet God comes to him with promises and with blessings. God does not come simply to tell of his need for salvation, though that’s true, or to announce his need for holy living, though that would have been appropriate. He comes to him with covenant promises and covenant blessings: “I will be Your God, you will be My people.”
And so it is when God comes to us. Yes, He could come and He’d say, “Well, you’re a sinful people. You need a savior. You’re living such a backwards like. You need to follow Me.” All of those have their appropriate places and appropriate commands, but so often we find that God first comes to us and He announces to us good news. God comes down from heaven, not first of all to say, “You have a lot of things to do for Me.” He says, rather, “I have so many things that I can do for you.”
It is not, first of all, the announcement of good advice, but of good news.
And so He comes to Jacob, who is completely undeserving. He’s the chosen one, yes, by the principle of election. But what has this chosen one done up to this point? Well, he has cheated his brother, he lied to his father, he even spoke blasphemy in attributing his deception to the Lord Himself. He has done nothing to merit such kindness from the Lord, but because of God’s covenant promises, He comes to Jacob, this man who’s fleeing assassination, and He says, “Let me tell you all of the good things I can do for you.”
Do you know that that’s God’s Word to you this morning? God wants to announce to you he has all sorts of good things that He can do for you. Beyond your imaging, beyond your tracing out, Jacob had no earthly idea how much God meant to bless him. He says, “You have Abraham’s blessing,” and we will see this play out in the chapters ahead, and Jacob’s relationship with his wives, his father-in-law, his brother, in this hugely dysfunctional family, through this conniving deceiver, God is going to accomplish His purposes, because the Lord is a God of election, a God of grace, and a God of His unassailable purposes. This is God’s plan, and He will see it through.
And then Jacob awakes, verse 16. He says three things. Number one, the Lord is in this place. Number two, this is an awesome place. And number three, this is a gateway, meaning God has visited me here.
You travel across country and you see various, you know, “Gateway to the West” or “Gateway to the Mississippi.” There’s all these openings to say “here is the place that you are now entering into a different land.”
Well, this spot was a gateway into heaven. God had visited him there, and by so doing He had opened a door into the very heavens of heavens. So Jacob rightly says, “Surely the Lord is in this place. I met with God.”
If you were to ask me, “Pastor, what do you hope happens on Sunday when we gather for worship?” It is this response here from Jacob. And I hope you have something of that in your own head and in your own heart as you prepare for worship. We aren’t here to waste time.
We aren’t here because God keeps score somewhere in heaven and says, “Okay, they put in another 85 minutes. All right, that’s a little nicer. They’ve just moved up from a condo to a single family home in heaven.”
We’re not here because somehow you earn yourself points with God.
We’re not here to be entertained; I hope the services aren’t drudgery.
We’re not here to reach a certain emotional fever pitch, though I hope that your affections are always engaged.
We are not here even simply to increase in knowledge, though I’m happy when you leave here and you can say, “I learned something.”
The aim, the prayer, the end of our gathering together every Sunday, is that we might say like Jacob, “Surely the Lord is in this place. How awesome is this place. This is the house of God. This is the gate of heaven.”
That’s what we pray for. We can’t manufacture it. Can’t just preach louder and louder and it happens. It takes a miracle of the Holy Spirit, and the way that God gives us to aim at this is to focus upon His Word and pray for the sending of the Spirit, the unction of the Holy Spirit. I hope you have this in your head and in your heart.
It so easy, I know, yes, sometimes the services are even a little boring. At least, my kids say that every once in a while. Sometimes the sermons are great, sometimes they’re good, sometimes they’re average, if they’re below average don’t tell me about it.
Yes, sometimes we sing your favorite songs, sometimes they’re not your favorite songs.
Sometimes the choir is on, no, the choir is always on.
Yes, we understand. But if you come here simply hoping, anticipating for very little, next to nothing, just sit, endure it, this is what we do. I’m a Christian, or I think I am or I was raised to be and I’ll come and I’ll sit through it and I’ll do church, there I did church.
Would you pray with me, week by week, I know so many of you are faithful to pray for your pastors, faithful to pray for this preaching. I’ve said to you before, the quickest way, the surest way, to make your preacher better is to pray. You pray for me and you pray for your own ears. You come prepared. We expect and hope and pray that we encounter God each week.
So I forget if it was Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and I think Tim Keller has said the same thing, but that when you get to the end of the sermon, I hope that you’re done taking notes. I’m happy for you to take notes if there’s things you want to learn and there’s the points you want to get and you won’t be kicked out of here if you’re taking notes in the last five minutes, but my hope is that by the end of each sermon, at least, there’s a sense of, “Okay, I’m no longer getting a word study, I’m not just figuring out what I need to write down, but I need to be still and I need to look up because Jesus Himself is saying something to me through this very sinful, imperfect man but through His infallible Word.” God is meeting with us here.
David Wells, one of my professors in seminary, a couple decades ago in his book God in the Wasteland put it like this so well: “The fundamental problem in the evangelical world today is not in adequate technique, insufficient organization, or antiquated music, and those who want to squander the Church’s resources bandaging these scratches will do nothing to staunch the flow of blood that is spilling from its wounds. The fundamental problem in the evangelical world today is that God rests too inconsequentially upon the Church. His truth is too distant, His grace too ordinary, His judgment too benign, His Gospel too easy, and His Christ is too common.”
Does God rest upon you, upon this place, inconsequentially? May it not be so. May we say, week after week, like Jacob when he awoke, “Surely God has been in this place.”
You have the journey, the dream, and finally you have the man.
Look at Jacob’s response, verse 18. Early in the morning he took the stone and he set it up for a pillar, poured oil on top of it.
So first he worships. As one commentator put it memorably, From a stone pillow to a stone pillar. The very same stone he used to prop up his head he now uses as an altar to pour oil, as we have seen with Abraham and then with Isaac, and now with his son Jacob. At these moments when God meets them, their response is to worship.
Second, you see he names. We’ve seen this several times, too. He calls the name of that place “Beth-el.” That is, “The House of Elohim,” the house of God.
And then he vows. He worships, he names, and he vows, verse 20, and in making this vow he asks for several things. We see it in the statement “if,” “if you will be with me, if you provide for me, if you bring me safely back here.” These are all petitions he’s making. God, be with me; God, provide for me; God, bring me safely back to this Promised Land.
And as he has asked for these things, he then vows three things. You can call these three aspects of his vow, as one commentator does, devotion, dedication, and commemoration.
Devotion. He says, “The Lord will be my God.” That is, he binds himself to true worship of the true God Yahweh.
And then dedication. He says, “This will be His house. I will come back here and this will be a sacred dwelling place for God Almighty.”
And then in an act of commemoration, he says in verse 22, “And all that You give me, I will give a full tenth to You.”
Do you see how Jacob is anticipating blessing? Right now he has nothing. He’s traveling with whatever he needs to make the long journey back to his mother’s home, but he anticipates, “God, you’re going to bless me. You’re going to give me, and when You give to me food and livestock and clothing, I will give back to You fully a tenth of all that You have given to me.”
Remember, Abram, when he encountered Melchizedek, gave him a tenth. The Mosaic law is going to call for a tenth, actually several tithes, that’s what a tithe means, it just means a tenth.
Now to give a tenth of what you have back to the Lord is not a sufficient sign that your heart has been changed, but it is a necessary sign. You remember in philosophy the difference between sufficient and necessary? So it’s not sufficient, meaning you could be very generous with the things that you have and still not have your heart be changed. It could be just going through the motions. It could not really mean that you are following Jesus. It’s just an easy thing to write a check. So it’s not sufficient by itself, but it is necessary. That means though perhaps you could be generous with your wealth and it just be a going through the motions, if you truly have encountered God and have known His grace, it cannot help but change you into a generous person. So not a sufficient sign, but a necessary sign.
When you get serious about following the Lord, your attitude toward your money and your possessions, changes. And you know how it changes most fundamentally? Because you don’t think of your money and your possessions as your money and your possessions, but you realize this is a gift from God. God has blessed me, God has seen fit to give these things to me. So how could I not at least give back to Him a tenth of all that He has given to me?
It’s an aspect of Jacob’s ongoing transformation. Yes, I will worship You. Yes, I will be dedicated and devoted to You. But more than that, I am putting my money where my mouth is, and all that You give me, I will give back to You a tithe.
You see how God is meeting Jacob where he is at, but he does not want to leave Jacob where he is at. You need both halves of that sentence. Some people are happy to say, “Well, God just meets us where we are and that’s wonderful,” as if God just met us and He said, “Oh, you’re all messed up. I love it. Just stay messed up.” But He doesn’t leave us there.
Well, some people think, “Okay, I now God wants me to change,” but they think God is far off in the distance and He expects us to really clean up several things in our lives before we cry out to Him. Well, that’s not the case, either. God meets us where we’re at, but He doesn’t leave us where we’re at.
So when He encounters Jacob, Jacob is to this point one who is unfit for the promises of God. Yes, he is the elect. The elect are chosen from the womb, but they are also so often unfit from the womb. What we will see, and have seen already in the book of Genesis, is that the biggest obstacle in the way of God’s plan being fulfilled in the world, the biggest obstacle, God’s people. Not hostile armies, not barrenness, not old age, not ruthless kings, not the government. All of those can put worldly pressure upon us to change or to bail on God, but no, the biggest obstacles have always been and will always be God’s people themselves.
We think God is most interested in using us to change the world, “Yes, sign me up. I want to change the world.” Might it be, however, that God’s primary interest is to use our circumstances in the world to change us?
It’s much easier to set out in your life to go change the world. You know what’s harder than changing the world? Changing yourself. That requires a miracle. That requires God’s initiative.
Here’s Jacob. He has all sorts of promises, but he stands in need of great transformation. God says to him, “This is who I am. This is what I will do to you.”
Again, we’re right to see parallels with Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son. It’s almost like the father who runs to the prodigal son and kills the fattened calf and says, “Let’s eat and celebrate.”
Well, here’s this prodigal running away from home, and while he is asleep God drops down a ladder from heaven and says, “I’ll come to you so you can come to Me. Let’s have a fattened calf. Let’s celebrate. Let me tell you all that I can do for you.”
That’s what prompts the reevaluation of Jacob’s priorities. God’s election is always unto holiness. God is going to slowly, with fits and starts, change this man. Now it’s true the process and prospect of transformation is more muted in the Old Testament than in the New Testament, but I think there is a genuine change that will take place in Jacob’s life, and God will take his natural ambition, his natural shrewdness, and He will turn it from self-centered and deceptive to something that is faith-filled and oriented unto God.
That’s how God usually works. He takes what is your natural personality, your natural sort of gifts, which left to yourself you run in the wrong direction, you use them for your own name, your own fame, and He takes that and He says, “You know what? I’m going to turn that and I’m going to use all that you are, all that you have, and I’m going to turn this for something good for My name.”
Jacob doesn’t deserve the Lord’s favor. He’s been a conniving cheat up to this point. It’s God’s kindness that leads him to repentance. It’s divine grace that precedes human gratitude.
He makes this vow, it’s actually the longest vow in the Old Testament. Usually vows are very short. This one covers a few verses. It’s the only time one of the patriarchs makes a vow to God.
When you think of a vow in the Old Testament, don’t think so much a binding, legal contract, though that’s part of it, but really it speaks of a reorientation of purpose and person.
One commentator puts it like this: The vow reorients Jacob’s journey. The journey had originated as a flight to avoid assassination and a trip to find a wife suitable to his parents. Now, however, Jacob’s journey becomes a pilgrimage with theological content. He goes to the same place for much the same purpose, but now he travels as a carrier of God’s promises, and with divine assurance of aid, in turn accompanied by God’s traveling mercies, Jacob has committed himself to living with Yahweh as his God. The promise and the vow transform Jacob’s journey as surely as an encounter with God changes a stony place into a sanctuary.
So here’s what I want you to think about as we close. Might it be the case for some of you, your story is a lot like Jacob’s?
Remember I said a few weeks ago that part of this is to remind Israel of their origin story. Every superhero has some origin story, every Disney movie has some very sad parental in danger origin story. Well, this is theirs, that Rebekah was barren. Jacob and Esau, their very existence was by divine fiat. It was a supernatural miracle. They were created, they were made.
And then the fact that Jacob, who will become Israel, would be the chosen one was by God’s election.
Those two elements, creation and election, shape the foundation of their origin story.
Well, now we get a little more of their story. Because as is so often the case with God’s people, Israel was often fumbling, foundering, they were not following God.
And when Moses wrote down these stories, and gave to them the law, they were literally wandering, waiting for their opportunity to enter the Promised Land, so they had plenty of opportunity to think upon themselves, “We’ve blown it again. We’ve messed up. We’re sinners. How can we deserve God’s mercy?”
See, that was part of their origin story, and they could take some comfort in Jacob, the one who is their literal namesake Israel.
And perhaps you can take some comfort in this as well, as you think about your life. You haven’t always been obedient. Well, neither was Jacob, but God was intent on blessing him, protecting him, providing for him. You are so often like your father Jacob, now learn from him.
And just as Jacob was on one sort of geographical journey, but really God had him on a different journey, so may it be with you.
Perhaps, like Jacob, you’ve been around the covenant community for your whole life. You’ve been around all this stuff, you’ve experienced some of the blessings, but be honest with yourself – it hasn’t made much difference. You’re on the team, so to speak, but you’re playing by your own rules. More than that, you’re sort of affiliated with the team, but you’re really playing for your own name. You’ve been around this stuff, but it hasn’t made you a different person.
But now, and maybe this is someone in this room, in the last weeks or months, maybe even today, you’ve sensed an encounter with God in a new way. Maybe it’s happened in the church, maybe it’s a book that you’re reading, maybe the Bible seems more alive than it has before, maybe it’s your small group… There’s something, and God seems to be meeting you. Will you be transformed? Will you set out on a different journey, a different purpose, a different person.
The Lord has been extremely gracious to every one of you in this room. How do I know that when I don’t know all the bad things and all of the difficulties and all of the muck and the mire you’re enduring, how do I know that God has been supremely gracious to you, in this room? Well, because you’re in this room, when there are billions and billions of people who have never heard the name of Jesus, and you’re in this room, or you’re watching online, or you’re listening to this some weeks or months or years later, you have had an encounter with God, because you have been able to sit under the preaching and the teaching of God’s Word. You’ve heard prayers, you’ve sung these songs.
Many of you, for years and decades of your life, you have an amazing blessing, because God, through no merit of our own – you think that because you’re in America we deserve something that someone in some unreached people group doesn’t deserve? No, because of God’s kindness He has spoken to you, He has put you within the sound of the preaching of God’s Word. He has given to you Bibles in a language you can understand. He has given you an embarrassment of riches and Christian resources and teaching and training. He has given all of that to you. What will you do with it?
You say, “Well, what does it look like if God is speaking to me? If God has arranged this divine encounter with me, what do I do?”
Thankfully, it’s not complicated. It means that you get serious about Jesus.
If you know your Bible, you may recall this phrase here in Genesis 28: “The ladder with angels of God ascending and descending on it.” This shows up another time, in John chapter 1, when Jesus encounters Nathaniel and he knows who he is sitting under the fig tree, and Nathaniel says, “You are the Son of God, the King of Israel,” and Jesus said, “You will see greater things,” and then He tells them, in John 1:51, “Truly, truly, I say to you,” Jesus says, “You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Do you see what Jesus is doing? He’s claiming for Himself this famous, remarkable, divine imagery from Jacob’s life. He’s saying, “You know that story, Nathaniel, with Jacob and the dream and of course you do, and the staircase to heaven and the angels going up and down? It was about an opening, it was about a gateway, it was about God coming down to His people that they might be lifted up. Well, I’m telling you, Nathaniel, the staircase has come to you in Me. It’s better than a ladder. The angels will rest on the Son of Man. I am the stairway to heaven. I am the door. I am the gate. I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Jesus is saying, “Where I am, the Lord is in your midst.”
So it’s not complicated. You know the ladder. He lived, He died, He rose, He’s coming again. And if you’ve encountered this God, and you want to be changed as Jacob is in the process of being changed, you get serious about Jesus.
Friends, wherever you are, however old you are, 5, 50, 100, it’s not too late to learn, it’s not too late to change, it’s not too late to set out on a different journey. It’s not too late to get serious about Jesus.
Let’s pray. Father in heaven, we thank You for the gate come down from heaven, clothed in human flesh, fully God, fully man, very God of very God, light of light, Jesus, and we pray, Lord, that as we fix our eyes on Him, focus on Him each Sunday, that we can say, “Surely the Lord is in this place.” In His Name we pray. Amen.