A Fire Is Coming Continue reading →
A Fire Is Coming Continue reading
“I am . . . the life.”
–Jesus, John 14:6
I recently finished reading Sheldon Vanauken’s excellent book A Severe Mercy. At a certain point in the book Sheldon and his wife “Davy” come to believe in Jesus. After this experience Davy is filled with the Holy Spirit and she’s all in.
“When Davy wasn’t reading the Bible to prepare for her class, she was reading it for her soul’s sake. She was always reading it, or reading Brother Lawrence and other devotional works. I wanted to protest, that it was too much; but how could I do that? It’s not possible for one Christian to say to another: You love God too much. Nor to say: You are holier than necessary.” (Vanauken) Continue reading
“Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”
Jesus Christ, John 1:51
How Jesus Loved People:
What a seemingly random comment Jesus makes here. Just before, He was affirming Nathanael as an Israelite, and commending him for his genuineness, honesty, and faith (See previous post Jesus Christ and Criticism: How Jesus Responds to a Cynic), when He suddenly switches gears and shares this scripture from Genesis 28:10-19.
In Genesis 28, Jacob stops for the night at a place called Luz and, using a rock for a pillow, goes to sleep. He has a very vivid dream there in which he sees a stairway going from the earth to heaven, and the angels of God ascending and descending on it. There above the top of the stairway stands God Himself.
But Jesus says to Nathanael, he’ll see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.
What’s the meaning of this statement?
What Jesus is sharing here is the answer to a mystery. The stairway, the one connecting us here on earth with God above, the stairway that connects heaven and earth, the stairway providing us with access to God, is, Jesus Christ Himself.
That’s what Jesus is sharing with Nathanael.
Jesus loved Nathanael enough to share this amazing truth with him, that God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17) He sent Jesus Christ to be Nathanael’s stairway to heaven.
Jesus is the stairway.
Jesus is the way. (John 14:6)
Jesus is the connection to God.
Jesus expressed His love for Nathanael by sharing this truth with him. And I love how He did it. At this early juncture in Jesus’ relationship with Nathanael, He didn’t launch into a long explanation of how the atonement for sin requires the shedding of blood, and how Nathanael must count the cost of following Jesus before becoming His disciple, and how he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. (Matthew 16:21)
Yes, all of this is eventually shared, but in the beginning, after starting off with affirmation of Nathanael, and commendation for Nathanael, Jesus shares in a very brief and simple manner, a hint of who He is: the Son of Man, the conduit between heaven and earth, the One Who connects men with God.
Jesus is the way the truth, and the life. (John 14:6)
He is the Stairway to heaven.
“So that’s how Jesus did it. How do I do it?” You might be asking.
How You Can Too:
It’s easy — just drop hints.
One time, for my mother’s birthday, we did this scavenger hunt thing. She thought she was going out for a casual dinner with my wife Kathy and I. But as soon as we showed up, I handed her a piece of paper with a clue written on it. She followed the clue which took us to a destination where two of her grandkids were waiting to give her a gift. These two grandkids also gave her another clue, sending her to a second destination where two more unexpected grandkids were waiting with a gift, and another clue, sending her to another destination. This went on until the whole thing ended at her favorite restaurant where she enjoyed dinner with all of us. She was blown away! (If you’re interested you can see the “Incident Action Plan” for this birthday celebration at the end of the post)
It’s about the clues.
You see, to love people like Jesus did, you need to be a clue dropper. As you go through your week, you’re going to find opportunities for you to drop hints concerning Jesus’ identity. Opportunities will present themselves for you to share, briefly and simply, as Jesus did with Nathanael, about who Jesus is, or about Jesus’ love, or about His mercy, or His generosity. Look for moments when you can share clues about how He’s impacted your life. Keep an eye out for occasions when you can share about how He’s blessed you. You don’t have to launch into a long explanation, necessarily.
To love people like Jesus did, keep an eye out for these opportunities. Opportunities to share anything that will hint at who Jesus is.
An opportunity to share a clue about Jesus with people, is an opportunity to love people the way Jesus loved people.
It’s an opportunity to bless people.
And it’s an opportunity to be blessed, yourself.
Try it and see.
Birthday Scavenger Hunt
1:00 Synchronize watches
Meet at dad and mom’s/Uncle kurt and Aunt Kathy’s
Dad/Uncle kurt – Pick up G’ma Judy – 3:10 PM
Ashland Fire Station 1
Clue: In the car to your son’s vocation
But instead of Medford, an Ashland Station
Gift: Karla’s gift
Clue: Now to your favorite food store location
A shortened version of the word cooperation
Favorite People: Gabe & Charise
Gift: Juice Bar Coupon
Clue: Don’t be late it’s time to go
We don’t want to miss your favorite show
Favorite People: Nate & Anastasia
Gift: Varsity Gift Certificate
Paddington Station Eclectic Emporium
Clue: We’re not taking a train but going to a station
The name of which rhymes with Addington
Favorite People: Kody, Sophia, Hayden, Sienna
Gift: Paddington Station Gift Certificate
Clue: Almost done with clues and maps
To your favorite place for Grills & Wraps
Favorite People: Kass, Miriam, Owen
Gift: Pangea Gift Certificate
Pasta Piatti Restaurant
Clue: Off we go to your final destination
A restaurant who’s country is a boot shaped location
Favorite Person: Kathy