Summary: 4th of 5 messages leading up to Easter on Death, Life after Life and the meaning of the resurrection. This message focuses on the Holy City and Streets of Gold.
What will Heaven be Like?
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
If this fallen world in all of its brokenness can be so wonderful, what must heaven be like?
T. S. Elliot
9 But as it is written in the Scriptures: “No one has ever seen this, and no one has ever heard about it. No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
Elderly Couple died in an accident
An elderly couple died in an accident and found themselves standing before the Pearly Gates of Heaven. St Peter was there to welcome them and took them inside.
First Peter showed them their new, heavenly mansion. The man, awed by the sheer luxury of it all asked, "How much does this place cost per night?" St Peter replied, "Sir, this is Heaven, it doesn’t cost anything."
Then Peter took them to the dining room where table upon table was piled high with the most superb, delicious foods you could imagine. Again overwhelmed by the lavishness of it all the man asked, "How much for the meals?" St Peter said, "You forget, this is Heaven; it’s free."
St Peter then took them out back where they saw the very finest professional golf course. As the man stood there open-mouthed St Peter said, "Now before you ask, there are no greens fees; this is Heaven; everything is free."
The man turned to his wife and said, "If it hadn’t been for your bran muffins, we could’ve gotten here ten years ago!”
On this Sunday – Palm Sunday – we remember the streets, covered with palms and dusty robes of excited people. We remember Jesus astride a small donkey being received with great joy by all of the people of the old Jerusalem.
Draw the picture of John walking just behind the donkey… and taking in the scene
Imagine John walking alongside Jesus on the donkey this morning. See the people and then let it all fade into the background.
Flash forward to an old John. His body is gnarled. His feet are flat. His hands are shaky. His mind is full of the images of a new heaven whose streets are paved with pure gold.
Streets of Gold
10 And the angel carried me away by the Spirit to a very large and high mountain. He showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
The Holy City - Twelve Angels
11 It was shining with the glory of God and was bright like a very expensive jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 The city had a great high wall with twelve gates with twelve angels at the gates, and on each gate was written the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel.
The Holy City - Twelve Gates
13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south, and three on the west.
21:9-23. 12-21. The City has twelve gates, on each of which is the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel, and each gate is guarded by an angel.
The word translated street, plateia, means literally a broad place; from this word derives our word plaza.
The Holy City - Twelve Foundations