My husband has been preaching the most amazing sermon series leading up to Christmas this year. The overall sermon series title is When Heaven Came to Earth. Each Sunday morning he has connected a passage from the Old Testament with one in the New Testament. One of the sermons was about Jesus being our ladder.
First, we find ourselves way back in Genesis 28 when Jacob has stolen his brother Esau’s birthright and blessing. Jacob is now on the run for his life. The sun is setting so he prepares to spend the night by placing a stone for his pillow and he falls asleep.
“Then he 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. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: ‘I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Issac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. … 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 spoken to you.'” Genesis 28:12-13, 15 NKJV
Jacob was a scoundrel. He had conspired with his mother to trick his father into getting his brother’s birthright and the blessing. But still God was going to give him things he didn’t deserve. He would return to the land he was sleeping upon and it would be his family’s land and inheritance. God also promises His presence always and that He will keep him.
But before we harrumph, thinking God was way too generous to such a liar and a cheat, let’s look at another scripture.
At the end of John one, Jesus calls Philip and Nathanael to follow and become his disciples. Nathanael is amazed that Jesus knew him before he even approaches. He actually declares that Jesus is the Son of God.
“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.’ And He said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.'” John 1:50-51 NKJV
Does this make anyone else say, Wow? I had never noticed this verse, probably because I didn’t understand the connection. But those who knew about Jacob and the promises made to him would have recognized this reference.
Consider the promises applied to us. We are just as undeserving because we are sinners. But Jesus promises His presence with us always and that He is watching over us in other places in scripture. Plus we are promised to be brought back home to heaven.
Because of Christmas, we have One who connects us with God. Heaven came down and pulled us out of the pit. We can never be the same after we encounter the “ladder.”