Threads of the Divine Nature of Jesus | Week 1 | The Eternal Ladder

Isaac was tricked! With the help of his mother, Jacob slid quietly into the room, arrayed in a disguise to make his father think that Jacob was actually his brother. The result? Jacob received his brother’s blessing – the blessing of the firstborn. This is after Jacob already tricked his twin brother into selling his birthright. He’s at it again, as Isaac’s wrinkled hand reaches out with dimmed eyes, but words full of life. Esau had enough! He wanted to kill his brother. Will this be a retelling of Cain and Abel? Not if Rebekah can help it!

She sends Jacob away until Esau can calm his fury. Jacob receives another blessing from his father with instructions on getting a proper wife for himself and he sets out. He comes “to a certain place” between Beersheba and Heran as the sun is setting. He sets up camp for the night and lays his head down on a rock.

Genesis 28.10-11, “10 Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep.” Yet, according to Hebrew tradition, this was the most special “certain place” in all of the earth. This is the exact location of where the Temple – and specifically, the Holy of Holies – would stand in the future. Thus, what happens next may not be too much of a surprise. He has a most vivid dream of the Heaven’s opening, seeing magnificently angelic beings, and the Lord of Hosts beaming down upon the Earth.

 

Genesis 28.12-17: 12 And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. 14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 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 promised you.” 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

 

What a view! What a promise! Jacob saw the Stairway to Heaven, and Led Zeppelin had nothing to do with it! He saw the access point, or the way, in which the angels come into our realm and return back to Heaven; how they came to us and back to the feet of the Lord of lords. He saw God, and God used this channel to communicate a message directly to Jacob. Talk about a moment in one’s life that’s impactful!

Yet, what in the world does this have to do with Jesus? Jesus who came into the world thousands of years after this event. Jesus of the New Testament. Jesus who is never mentioned in this story at all – how could he since he was born so much later, right? In fact, on the surface, this story really doesn’t have anything to do with Jesus! However, what if I told you that Jesus was actually a central character in this story? You think that’s crazy right? “Obviously, this guy can’t read very well – it doesn’t mention Jesus at all!” I know, and yet…it does. How do we know? Because Jesus tells us it does!

Let’s move forward a few thousand years into the future. There’s a Rabbi walking around Israel who is ready to start his teaching ministry and is gathering some other young men to be his disciples. As he’s walking around, some disciples of another prophet ask if they can go follow this Rabbi instead and this prophet gives his blessing. These two hustle to follow this man. The next day, they are walking through a town and this Rabbi tells a man named Philip to follow him and Philip runs and tells his friend Nathanael to come with him and follow this Rabbi too. Philip also tells him they have found the Messiah. Nathanael is suspicious, but comes along to what all the fuss is about.

When Nathanael meets this Rabbi, he is blown away. Jesus tells Nathanael what he was doing while alone before Philip found him – prophetic! Nathanael declares – “You are the Son of God!” Jesus tells Nathanael, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” (This is my translation, by the way.) He tells Nathanael something very intriguing… “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” Here’s the entire exchange:

 

John 1.43-end: 35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.

What is going on here? Jesus is declaring exactly who he is! He is telling them that he was the central – quiet – character in Jacob’s story. He is the avenue between Heaven and earth. He is the one whom angels use come and go in and out of our realm. He is the One whom the Father looks along to communicate with his children. He is the eternal connection. No mere mortal could ever claim to be the avenue in which angels come in and out of this world! He is the eternal access for us to ascend to the Father. Here, he is showing them that he is eternal and that he was there with Jacob and led him to the Father. He showed Jacob he has authority over the angels of Heaven. He gave Jacob the vision that he is the “ladder, staircase; way” to the Father. Later, Jesus tells his disciples directly and clearly that he is way. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14.6)

According to Christians, Jesus is the way to God. We claim that Jesus is the only path to get to God. Why do we make this claim? Simple: it’s the claim that Jesus makes himself. However, with this story in view, we see that Jesus didn’t just say he was the way at one moment in history, but rather showed that he is the eternal access point to the Father. He is the Stairway to Heaven. He is the ladder that will lift us up to the glories of the Father’s throne, if we allow him to do so. However, if this is the case, we must also realize that it is an assent we cannot make on our own. We assume that we can make the assent ourselves or that there are other “ladders” to lead us to the Promised Land. This simply is not the case. We need divine help from the eternal One!

 


 

I hope you all enjoyed this first installment of “Threads of the Divine Nature of Jesus”. Please leave your thoughts on these passages. Hope you join next week for installment two – it may be a stormy ride…

Blessings,
Joshua

 

Published in: on 7 AMpSat, 11 Jan 2020 09:30:18 -050030Saturday 2016 at 9:30 am  Comments (3)  
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Midweek Worship

Happy Wednesday to you all!

I just wanted to share a few songs with you all that have been a blessing to me recently in my time of reflection and worship. I hope you have a great and productive day!


 

Fernando Ortega
“Sing to Jesus”

 

Beckah Shae
“Perfect” – Ed Sheeran cover

 

Josh Garrels
“Freedom”

 


 

Psalm 8 (ESV)

1 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
7 all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Published in: on 7 AMpWed, 08 Jan 2020 07:15:24 -050015Wednesday 2016 at 7:15 am  Comments (1)  
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Here We Are

Happy Tuesday peeps. Here’s an old one for you…

 

HereWeAre

 

Blessings to you on this day!
– NoblemanWarrior

Published in: on 7 AMpTue, 07 Jan 2020 07:31:32 -050031Tuesday 2016 at 7:31 am  Comments (2)  
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7-Word Story | Erev Shabbat

 

 

As Friday dwindles, may worship be sweet!

 

© Joshua Curtis, 2019

Published in: on 7 PMpFri, 09 Aug 2019 16:32:22 -040032Friday 2016 at 4:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Homily | Installment 3 | “God’s Presence”

Hello everyone! Sorry for being so late with this one!

 

I’m here!

 

I am finding my job makes it difficult to write after being there for a few days. Too much energy is gone; tying to figure this thing out!

 



 

I am going to change the format up just a bit for this week compared to the last couple of weeks. At first I was struggling with picking the topic of drawing these verses together. I then saw the string of God’s Presence in specific ways through each passage. I am going to pick a few of these ways and highlight them in different colors.

Before getting into it, consider the following. What would you do, how would you respond, what would you say if God himself came to be in your presence? What would his presence demand out of you? … We all will be in that position one day; what are we doing about this fact today? This is all about his presence – a presence we will encounter at some point.

 

priest holding hostia

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Scriptures for this week:

  • Acts 16.16-34
  • Psalm 97
  • Revelation 22.12-14, 16-17, 20-21
  • John 17.20-26

A few aspects we see in his presence:

  • Freedom/Freedom in Living
  • Fear/Trembling 
  • Judgement/Justice 
  • Praise/Worship

Acts 16.16-34

16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.

19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20 And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21 They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.”22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas.30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God. (Personal note here: Notice the true freedom happening here. Most of us in this position, when the chains broke and the door opened, we would have bolted! However, Paul and Silas remained in there in their true freedom which brought true freedom to the jailer and his entire household.) 

 

Psalm 97

The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice;
    let the many coastlands be glad!
Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
    righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him
    and burns up his adversaries all around.
His lightnings light up the world;
    the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
    before the Lord of all the earth.

The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
    and all the peoples see his glory.
All worshipers of images are put to shame,
    who make their boast in worthless idols;
    worship him, all you gods!

Zion hears and is glad,
    and the daughters of Judah rejoice,
    because of your judgments, O Lord.
For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth;
    you are exalted far above all gods.

10 O you who love the Lord, hate evil!
    He preserves the lives of his saints;
    he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
11 Light is sown for the righteous,
    and joy for the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,
    and give thanks to his holy name!

 

 

Revelation 22.12-14, 16-17, 20-21

12 Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. … 16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” 17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. … 20 He who testifies to these things says, Surely I am coming soon.”Amen. Come, Lord Jesus21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

 

 

John 17.20-26

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly oneso that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I amto see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

 

Thank you for reading. May the Scriptures bless and encourage you. Remember to ask yourself, what will happen when I encounter God? Will you be like the slave girl, the melting mountains, an adversary meeting his fire, or one that is one with him rejoicing in the longing response of “Come!” He gave it all for you to have the choice. Come to him on his terms and receive grace or come to him on your last day on your own terms. The choice is ours, but the weighty reality that we will not always be permitted to avoid him is his choice. Choose wisely!

 

grayscale photography of man sitting on grass field

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Published in: on 7 PMpMon, 03 Jun 2019 17:00:53 -040000Monday 2016 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Alabaster

Okay, I was tagged to do this challenge by lilrant. (By the way, you should check out her work; it’s very creative and fun to read!) It’s a daily challenge to write 26 posts, A-Z. Here is the kick off. I hope you enjoy! It’s going to be a good challenge for me as I really need to write more frequently. Thank you Little Rants for the challenge! Blessings to you all!

beige wooden chest trunk on white surface

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“Alabaster”

Longing soul thirsts for you; dehydrated,
Sickly, mildewed, wilting; peeling plaster;
Needing to draw nigh into your presence –
Fear of your holiness, heart beats faster –
I’m dirty! Feebly entering temple,
Rapidly cleanse me like oil of castor!
Reminded I’m new, redeemed by the King,
Gracious Savior! High Priest; my soul’s pastor,
Helping me see clearly; reality!
As you make my vision clear and vaster.
I worship you for your goodness and grace!
I bring you a boxed gift – alabaster –
Joyously collapsing down to the floor,
Worshiping at the feet of my Master!
~

Luke 7.36-38 (ESV)

One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.

“Alabaster”, © Joshua Curtis, 2019

Published in: on 7 AMpSat, 06 Apr 2019 03:39:39 -040039Saturday 2016 at 3:39 am  Comments (7)  
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