For the first year ever, Lent has my full attention. I’ve always known it’s the season leading up to Easter, but I have never truly pressed in every day from Ash Wednesday up to Easter Sunday. Anyone else relate? Some say Lent is like Advent, but in the spring for Easter instead of Christmas. Others say it’s that time when you give up something like chocolate or Instagram…I agree, but I am learning there is so much more to this season, and the purpose goes far beyond the act of “giving something up.” Instead of giving something up tangibly for Lent, I am opening my hands and giving every burden and desire to Jesus daily. It’s a posture I want to carry far past this season of Lent, too. There are so many changes coming with graduation just a few weeks after Easter; I feel the sense of urgency and remembrance of Lent even more present.
I went to my church’s Ash Wednesday service and came home with a daily Lent Bible reading plan through the Gospel of John. The first 2 days I read through John 1. I have read this chapter many times, but the last verse jumped off the page in a way I had never noticed before.
“I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.” -John 1:51
In this verse, Jesus is referencing Genesis 28 when God meets Jacob at Bethel.
“As he [Jacob] slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway. At the top of the stairway stood the Lord…” -Genesis 28:12-13
I was amazed – – if you’ve been following along my most recent posts, BETHEL is my word for my current season of life. There it was again in my first day of Lent reading! Something so profound is unveiled in one small verse, and I had noticed it for the first time. So I dug deeper into what these words mean to me.
In John 1, Jesus continues the story of Jacob at Bethel from Genesis 28. Jesus says that he himself is is the staircase – – the only connection between heaven and earth. He is fulfilling the foretaste of God preparing His people for the arrival of the Savior through a vision of a staircase. God worked through Jacob generations before Jesus walked the earth and his name was known. In John 1 Jesus tells us a new story: we too can enter the house of God. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life; the staircase! No one can enter the house of God without him. Jesus came to earth fully human and fully God, yet he lived a sinless life and paid the ultimate price to bring us home.
Jesus is the way no matter where I go. He has gone before me and walks with me. He brings me home as he makes his home in my heart. Through trials, pain, waiting, and even immense joy – – he is building something beautiful, even if I cannot see the full staircase. He is with me every step. He is the solid foundation – – tearing down walls and expanding rooms; rearranging furniture and inviting community inside. He is the center; the hearth and very heart. He is the staircase – – connecting me to the Father. Pressing into these truths is my focus for Lent this year. He is all of these things for you, too. Will you let go and trust the Builder this Lent season? Let’s practice this posture so it will be natural for all times to come.
“One thing I ask of the Lord – – the thing I seek most – – is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” -Psalm 27:4 & 14