God is Near: The Message of Heaven Come Conference
This devotional series focuses on communing with God, the One who is near, and exploring what it means to be “gates of heaven” on the earth. This idea presents itself in Genesis with Jacob, and in the New Testament through the life Jesus and at Pentecost. We created this series as a way for anyone around the world to engage with the theme of our upcoming Heaven Come Conference: “God is Near”.
John 1:14 tells us that Jesus, the Word, the fullness of God, became flesh and made his dwelling among us. The word used here for “made his dwelling among us” is the word “tabernacled”. Jesus himself was the dwelling place of God among man. Jesus’ presence here was also the first time the Holy Spirit actually lived within anyone who had walked the earth. The “house of God” that Jacob identifies after his encounter in Genesis now refers to Jesus himself, who had “tabernacled” on the earth.
Later in the book of John, Jesus has a revealing interaction with Nathaniel. Nathaniel recognizes Jesus as the Son of God after Jesus tells him something no one could have known. In this moment Jesus makes a parallel with what Jacob experienced in Genesis when he says, “Truly I tell you, you will see heaven opened, and angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Jesus words reflect the same picture that Jacob witnessed- an open heaven and angels on assignment ascending and descending on the house of God, (here referring to Jesus). Jesus’ words to Nathaniel are in fact profound; stating that “the gate of heaven” (himself) was now with us.
In Mark 1:10-11 Jesus sees a similar picture as he arose from the water at his baptism, “He saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Again, Scripture draws a parallel between Jacob’s encounter and Jesus’, depicting “the gate of heaven” as a place where there is an open heaven, the carrying out of heavenly assignments, and God’s voice speaking.
As his ministry begins after this moment, we see Jesus as a powerful conduit between heaven and earth, drawing from the reality he represented and manifesting that reality around him in the form of miracles, healing, signs and wonders, and ultimately His resurrection. Jesus consistently demonstrates an awareness of and obedience to the Father throughout his ministry, matching every need that came before him with a solution that defied the limitations of the natural realm.
We each could testify of how God has moved sovereignly in our lives, perhaps in the form of provision at just the right moment, a miracle, a reconciled relationship, or a turn in circumstance that was out of our control. But the life of Jesus illuminates the Father’s intentions to an even greater degree; modeling for us that there is more: a dynamic life with God beyond just experiencing His sovereign acts and respecting His commandments.
The Father longs that we would move in partnership with His voice on a daily, intimate level.
There are words of life, miracles, and breakthroughs of all kinds that he longs to accomplish through us in the lives of those around us. The way that Jesus embodied what it looked like to live attuned and responsive to the manifest, abiding presence of God was not an exception, but an example of what is possible.
The authority He walked in becomes our standard of faith, as modern-day disciples following His lead.
Jesus’ moment with Nathaniel and His baptism experience are fulfillments of God’s words to Jacob in Genesis 28, that there would be a people who would be the house of God, attract the angelic realm, live as a gate between heaven and earth, and see the intentions of the Father carried out among men. In the next reading we will explore how this is something we have access to the way Jesus did, through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Pray & Reflect:
- Up to now, have you considered Jesus’ life as something that was exceptional, or possible for you too?
- How does this reading affect your understanding of the statement that Jesus was both “fully God and fully man”?
- How do you experience God’s presence and promptings? What, if anything, causes you to hesitate in responding to these “invitations” from Him? Take a moment and ask the Lord what he wants to give you in exchange for whatever causes this hesitation.
- Jesus related with the Father on a daily, intimate basis. He lived sensitively to what God showed Him to give attention to. What are some instances when you have sensed God’s voice, responded, and seen good fruit?
John 1:14, John 1:49-50, Mark 1:10-11
To read the first blog of the message of Heaven Come Conference, Jacob’s Dream: The Gate of Heaven, click here.
Click Below to visit the Heaven Come Conference Website for information + registration.