You would think that in a dream that featured angels and a vision of heaven and a vision of God, not to mention a glimpse into the future at a family that didn’t yet exist, and a nation that didn’t yet exist, the magnitude of whose influence would literally touch and span all human history, you would think in a dream like that, the very last thing worth getting excited about would be an oridinary, standard, run of the mill staircase.
But as Jacob lay his head down that night with nothing but a stone for his pillow, it was a staircase that he needed. See, Jacob had spent literally his entire life plotting, planning, scheming, manipulating, striving to get the favor of God. And where had all that plotting, planning, scheming, manipulating, striving gotten him? Well, right here. A hundred miles away from home with a rock for a pillow, alone, afraid, exhausted, with a boatload of regret about the past and a heap of uncertainty about the future. So that night when God came to him in a dream, God gave him exactly what he needed: a staircase.
See the interesting thing about a staircase is ordinary, standard, run of the mill as it may be, what it does is absolutely critical. A staircase unites two things that would forever be entirely on different planes without it. And so the point that God was making to Jacob that night in his dream was quite clear: what Jacob had been entirely unable to do, what Jacob had failed miserably at doing, in trying to bridge his way up to the heavens, God himself was not only able to do but willing to do. So the next morning when Jacob wakes up, staircase fresh on his mind, what else would he call that place but Bethel, house of God.
Can you relate to Jacob? Do you know what it is like to have spent your entire life striving, struggling, plotting, planning, to earn the favor of God? Do you know what it’s like to have a boatload of regrets about the past and a whole heap of uncertainties about the future? Then what you need is a staircase. And that staircase of course is Jesus Christ.
See, in this house of God, Jesus is what unites heaven and earth, the one thing that is able to span the two things that would remain entirely separate otherwise. Jesus the God man is the one who allows us to see God’s favor. And how does Jesus come to us? Well, in equally less than flattering, less than impressive things. Jesus comes to us in something as simple as words: in the written word, in the spoken word, in the sung word. He comes to us in something as simple as water, water connected to his promise that water washes away and grants new life in him. He comes to us through His meal through wine and wafer that is united to his body and blood the very thing he gave to buy us from the empty way of life we have been so chasing after and exhausting ourselves for. In Jesus we have the singular thing that unites heaven and earth.
And so we invite you, come to this house of God. See Jesus. And know that God is not only able but happy and willing to give you the connection you so desperately sought.