Stairway to heaven

[Jacob] had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

Genesis 28:12

For some reason I have rather bizarre – and memorable dreams. Last night I had a particularly strange dream in which Claire, my wife, was made a baroness (eminently believable) and I was made a knight (totally unbelievable!) Certainly a rather strange dream, and perhaps one I shouldn’t be sharing; you may know what it means!

In today’s reading, Jacob, Isaac’s son, is shown leaving Beersheba to head for Paddan Aram to find a wife from his mother’s family. During his first night on the road, he had a dream in which he saw a stairway to heaven on which the “angels of God were ascending and descending.” Above the staircase he saw God, who repeated the promise he had made to Abraham, Jacob’s grandfather. He tells Jacob that he is the God of Abraham and Isaac, that he will give Jacob and his descendants the land on which he is lying, that his descendants will be numerous, and, perhaps most importantly, that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.”

Clearly this is an amazing promise, but what does it have to do with us today? Well, just as Jacob saw a staircase to heaven, Jesus told his followers, “very truly I tell you, you will see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:51). The promise that God makes to Jacob is a specific promise to him and to his family; the “staircase” is temporary. By the time of Jesus’ statement, however, the staircase has been replaced. It is now the Son of Man, that is Jesus himself, who is the means of approaching God and entering heaven. Through Jesus, who is a descendant of Isaac, the promise God made to Isaac in his dream has come true. Through Jesus, “all peoples on earth” have been blessed. As a result of Jesus we don’t have to deceive God for a blessing, or pretend to be someone we’re not, as we saw Jacob do in yesterday’s Daily Reading. Rather, because Christ died for all, anyone who turns to him, repents of their sin, and seeks to follow him can freely receive a blessing from God, a blessing that opens up the way to heaven, through Jesus Christ.

Let’s pray with thanks today that Jesus has opened the way to the father for us all!

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