You Shall See Heaven Open – Gospel in Life

You Shall See Heaven Open

Tim Keller |  December 20, 2009

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  • Christmas and Advent
  • Jesus' Birth
John 1:43-51
RS 318-02


The beginning of the book of John doesn’t talk to us about the facts of Christmas — it tells us the meaning of Christmas. This passage from John 1 shows us that the meaning of the coming of Christ is tied to an incident in the life of Jacob. According to this text, the message of Christmas is that the heavens have been opened for those who have been humbled. We will break down the two aspects of this message: 1) The heavens have been opened, and 2) The heavens have been opened for those who are humbled.

Understanding John 1:35–51

When we look at Christmas through the eyes of the book of John, we see that it’s about more than just the facts of Jesus’s birth. It’s about the deep meaning of Jesus coming to earth and how it connects to stories of Moses and Jacob. The main thing to remember about Christmas is that it’s a story of how heaven was opened up for people who are humble.

1. Heaven is now open

Remember the story of Jacob in Genesis 28? He had a dream about angels going up and down a huge ladder, showing that God is actively involved in our lives, even when we mess up. This presence of God is comforting but also makes us realize how amazing and powerful He is. Jesus, much later, said He is like a gate to heaven and a link to God, offering a way to be saved and experience God’s power, especially for those who have messed up, like Jacob.

2. Heaven is open for those who are humble

Christmas is really about how Jesus, the Son of God, was born in the most humble way possible. He was born in a carpenter’s family and his first bed was a manger. Plus, Joseph and Mary had to deal with people looking down on them because Mary was pregnant before they were married. This all highlights the humility of Jesus’ birth, life, and death. In the end, Jesus overcame death through this humility, showing us that being humble before God and others is the way to salvation and access to heaven.



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