Jacob's Ladder

  • March 4, 2013
  • #8046

Hi, you’re listening to "Joni and Friends" and I’m Joni Eareckson Tada.

When I was a little girl in Sunday school, we used to sing a popular chorus; maybe you sang it too, "We are climbing Jacob's ladder." Remember that? The song harkened to Genesis chapter 28, verses 10-12 where it says, “And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold, a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.” 

That’s a remarkable image, isn’t it: We are climbing Jacob’s ladder; we are climbing Jacob’s ladder. I remember seeing a line drawing in a Bible storybook of this gigantic ladder with angels on each of the rungs, all of them flying going up and down. There’s not a kid who hears this Bible story who isn’t absolutely fascinated by it. Here Jacob had been traveling hard all day, and he stopped by a stream to rest. He fell asleep and had a wonderfully mysterious dream — he saw a ladder stretching from heaven to earth with angels on it.  And they just weren’t standing there on each rung of the ladder; they were ascending and descending on it. The dream of that ladder was God's way of showing Jacob the yawning gulf, this chasm between man and God and the ladder God provided to close that gulf.  When Jacob woke up, he realized it was a divine visitation. But even with all that, it's interesting that Jacob's ladder is never mentioned again scripture — that is, until Jesus arrives on the scene.

Because right after Jesus was baptized, Jesus begins proclaiming His true identity and divine mission. And in one place, He announced in John chapter 1, verse 51, he said, "I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man." Does that sound familiar: angels ascending and descending on something?  Of course, Jesus was pointing to Himself as Jacob's ladder! He had come to close the distance, to bridge the chasm that gaping gulf between God and man. Just as angels were ascending and descending on the ladder in Jacob's dream, so they were ascending and descending on the Son of Man, glorifying the One who stretched the gulf between heaven and earth!

Oh, friends, we live in a “spiritual” age, don’t we, with many people searching for meaning. As a believer in Jesus, you have the Gospel, you know the Way, you know the Truth: Jesus Christ is man's only "ladder" to heaven. And our challenge is to tell others about their bridge to God, their stairway to the Father, their highway to heaven, as it were. Every day you and I need to be looking for opportunities to help non-believers find the first rung on that ladder, showing them that Jesus has provided a way — the only way — to heaven. And to help you with this, I want to give you something, some Gospel tracts, three in English and three in Spanish. The tract is called “Amazing Love” and it’s the perfect thing to leave in your mailbox, on a restaurant table with your tip, to tuck in with a note card, leave at the cash register at the hair salon. Wherever you go and whatever you do during the course of the day, you can help others reach for the first rung on the ladder as they learn about Jesus Christ. When we’re finished here, just go online to joniandfriends.org and visit my radio page where you can ask for your Gospel tracts. Because we know the way, we know the truth: Jesus Christ is the only hope, the only ladder to heaven… so thank you for leading people to Him.

© Joni and Friends, 2013

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