Summary: Jesus reveals to His disciples that He is Jacob’s ladder; He’s the Gate between heaven and earth!
The Gospel of John focuses on the unique being of Jesus Christ as both God and as God’s Son:
…He is the Word from eternity and Jesus of Nazareth.
…He is both the God of heaven and the Man on earth.
…He’s 100% divine and also 100% human.
He has the whole divine essence of the Godhead;
He is indivisible from the Father and the Holy Spirit;
He is infinite without any beginning;
And yet He is the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His person (Heb. 1:3).
If we want to see the invisible God we can only look at Jesus Christ.
To put it simply, He is unique.
And John’s goal is to show us these things so that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing we might have life through His name (Jn. 20:31).
Last week we finished up with chapter one, but I want to go back to revisit the very last verse because there’s so much in it that meets John’s main goal. Jesus shows His omniscience to Nathanael who then believes Jesus is the Son of God and the King of Israel, but there’s something else Jesus wants him to understand:
And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
The Greek here is in the plural. It might be better translated as “I say unto you all, Hereafter you all shall see.” What He’s doing is telling these men who He really is. “Ye shall see heaven open.”
…Ezekiel talks about seeing the heavens opened “and I saw visions of God” (Ez. 1:1).
…John saw the heavens opened when he baptized Jesus: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Mt. 3:16-17).
…Steven saw the heavens opened before he died: Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God (Acts 7:56).
…Peter saw heaven open before God told him to eat pork (Acts 10:11), and down in verse 28 he explains: “God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”
…In Revelation John describes seeing the heavens open in His vision of the Word: And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war (Rev. 19:11).
The idea is that heaven is opened to them so that they can see some of the great mysteries that are hidden from the world.
and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
Being a true Israelite, Nathanael wouldn’t have missed the reference. If you go back to Genesis 28:10 you’ll find Jacob running for his life: And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. 11And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. 12And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. 13And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; 14And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. 16And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not. 17And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. (Gen. 28:10-17).
Jesus identifies Himself as the ladder from Jacob’s dream, and that dream shows that Jesus is the connection between heaven and earth! Even the angels come back and forth upon Him; this makes me think of Hebrews 1:4 where it says Jesus is “made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”