The Man in Whom Heaven and Earth Meet

Why Jesus is My Hero #5 of 52


When life throws you yet another curve ball and everything seems to be going wrong, even the strongest faith can be tested, wondering if God can really be out there and in control. Something within us longs to know for certain – if only we were able to reach out and touch him, to have a tangible experience of his presence, like Adam & Eve as they walked with God in the garden of Eden and spoke with him.

But, of course, things aren’t as they were back then. Adam & Eve may have spoken with God but they certainly didn’t listen, and their act of rebellion – the very pattern of sin that we repeat for ourselves in our own lives day after day – caused a rift between God and man that could not easily be repaired. Sin introduced a seemingly impenetrable barrier between heaven and earth – humanity was kicked out of the garden and the Cherubim was placed by the entrance with his flaming sword to make sure they could never get back in.

It’s a moment of earth-shattering significance, then, when that great chasm between heaven and earth is bridged at a particular point in space-time in the holy of holies at the heart of the temple in Jerusalem. God is present in the midst of his people – tangibly present, though it proves to be highly dangerous for such sinful people. The Cherubim still symbolically guards the way, his image embroidered into the curtain to warn people against entering uninvited. But then once again humanity’s endemic rebellion proves to be their undoing, and God’s glory departs as the temple is destroyed and the people of Judah are carted off into exile. The bridge between heaven and earth is broken down.

Enter the stage, then, Jesus of Nazareth. Early on in John’s gospel he delivers this cryptic statement:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (John 1:51)

It’s a reference back to Jacob’s ladder – the patriarch’s dream about the gates of heaven, where angels ascend and descend on Bethel: “the house of God”. Jesus is making a startling claim which he repeats numerous times throughout his life: he himself is the true temple – heaven and earth meet once again in his body. His disciples could literally reach out and touch God – experience God in a tangible way.

So when we’re doubting if God is really there, when we’re wondering what he’s really like, we can turn to the eye witness accounts of the life of Jesus and encounter the one in whom heaven and earth meet – the answer to all our doubts. That’s why Jesus is my hero.