50Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.’ 51And he said to him, ‘Very truly, I tell you,* you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’
This Sunday we explored the story we commonly call Jacob’s Ladder from Genesis 28. In the story, a guy named Jacob fell asleep under the night sky while on a long journey. God appeared to him in a dream and revealed a stairway between heaven and earth with angels going up and down.
The man awoke the next morning and was keenly aware that God had revealed Godself to him in his dream. He trembled with fear and declared that the place he slept was the gate of heaven!
When we follow his story from that moment, it is hard to see where his dream had a discernable impact upon his life. He was less than upstanding before the dream. He was less than upstanding after his dream.
None of that should surprise us. Many of us have had experiences like that. Perhaps it was not a dream of a stairway to heaven, but it was a moment where we were keenly aware of God’s love, forgiveness, guidance, or presence. Perhaps something in a sermon or a song or a sunset struck us deeply. For a moment, God and faith and us all seem to be clear and balanced.
The truth is that many of us have also walked away from experiences like that and not done much with them. Perhaps we have been buoyed for a bit and were thankful that God lifted us. But we were no less a scoundrel after than we were before.
In the gospel of John, Jesus pushes a guy named Nathanael to dive more deeply after such a moment experienced under a fig tree. He said, “That impressed you? You will see more than that if you use that to press closer to me. Let it affirm you not just to go about your business but to follow me. And if you do, you will see that heaven and earth are connected in me!”
There is no end to the revelation of God in Christ Jesus. Those moments are invitations to begin to see life through a lens of faith where we can be part of the stairway that connects heaven to us.
Dear Jesus, we long to know your touch to strengthen us for the journey. Perhaps that is only half of the story. We ask that you would also give us courage to allow your touch to define our journey. This, that we might be part of heaven being known here on earth. We pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.