Reflective Bible Study.
Focus Passage: John 3:1-22 (NCV)During Jesus’ late night conversation with Nicodemus, He makes a statement that is both perplexing to my mind, and potentially incorrect when taken at face value. I don’t believe Jesus lied in this statement, but I do believe His statement touches on a deeper truth than what is simply on the surface. Part way through their conversation, Jesus tells Nicodemus, “I tell you the truth, we talk about what we know, and we tell about what we have seen, but you don’t accept what we tell you. I have told you about things here on earth, and you do not believe me. So you will not believe me if I tell you about things of heaven. The only one who has ever gone up to heaven is the One who came down from heaven—the Son of Man.” (v. 11-13) It is this last phrase that makes me wonder. Jesus says that “The only one who has ever gone up to heaven is the One who came down from heaven—the Son of Man.” (v. 13) This statement creates a problem for several Old Testament characters. What happened to Enoch, Moses, and Elijah if the Son of Man (Jesus) is only one who has ever gone up to heaven? Not only that, but Jesus’ statement is past tense (“has gone”), but Jesus was presently on earth. Had He gone up to heaven earlier in His life, or is He speaking from a different perspective? When looking closely at how this statement is worded, I believe the answer lies in the phrase “has gone”. Another way of stating this idea is that “the only individual who is capable of going to heaven is the One who came from heaven – all others have to be brought to heaven by the One.” Giving Jesus the role of Delivery Driver between heaven and earth might sound sacrilegious, but that is one of the only ways we can reconcile Jesus’ statement to Nicodemus in light of the Old Testament characters that were “taken” to heaven. But why then does Jesus use the past tense in His statement? Perhaps it was because He was the One who brought these Old Testament heroes to heaven. It would only make sense that Jesus had made the cosmic trip several times. This also means that Jesus is making plans for a trip back to earth for you and me. When He returns, it will be to gather all of His people together to Him. According to Jesus, this is the only way any of us can truly reach heaven – and the ticket to heaven that Jesus offers is free for those who are willing to accept it. The only cost on our part is placing our faith and belief in Him – and that is something that anyone and everyone can do. This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today! Read this article on the web on it's official page: Headed To Heaven: John 3:1-22