October 22, 2000 Jesus is the Bridge Day John 14
Ronald E. George Jr. at the Fayetteville Baptist Church
We just finished celebrating Bridge Day at the worldís largest single span bridge. It is the second highest bridge in the US. The bridge crosses the New River gorge at Fayetteville and allows all to cross the river with ease. We walked on the bridge and watched as over 500 people jumped by rope and parachute to the river or rocks below. But it held, as nearly 200,000 people or so had the opportunity to walk across. Have you crossed the bridge? Today letís proclaim that Jesus is the Bridge. He is the bridge to God that we have needed to get to the other side. Have you crossed that bridge?
Scripture Text: John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Will I be able to make it across? Will my loved ones who have died be there?
How will I be able to make it through life? What if I get half way there and stumble?
1. The vision for the Bridge
The New River Bridge is 3030 feet long, 69 feet wide, and is 876 feet high. The arch length is 1700 feet and is the longest steel arch bridge in the world and the second highest in our county. The bridge provides a safe, quick passage between the two sides of the gorge. A 40-minute drive around the snake like road was reduced to less than 1 minute. Jesus is the bridge between God and man. God wants you to be with Him through all eternity. There can be no other way to God. There may be another way to cross the gorge, but Jesus is the way to God.
In 1936 a radio broadcast was transmitted to America from England. Just before the voice of King Edward VIII was to be heard, someone stumbled over a wire in the control room of WJZ (now WABC, New York) and snapped the only line of communication between the two great countries. The engineers were frantic. Then, with only a few moments remaining before air time a quick-thinking apprentice grasped the two broken ends of the wire and bridged the gap. Seconds later the King addressed the nation. In a real sense, his words were being transmitted through the body of that man! Can there be no other way? No, he said he was the way, the truth and the life and no man can come to the Father but by him. He is the way. Thank God for the way.
The Bridge brings together two sides and crosses the gap. The gap that we crossed with the New River Bridge was a great gorge. The gap that Jesus crossed for us is the gap that exists between God and Man. The gap was created by sin. Sin is the reason for the difference between Him and us. We once walked with God in fellowship, but Adam chose to eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree. In that action he said to God that we know what is best for us and we donít need or want you in our lives. Then Jesus came to close the gap. We have moved from the place of fellowship with the creator. Thus the need for the bridge was created by the choice of one man named Adam. By the choice of another man named Jesus we can have life with God.
The Bridge makes it possible to cross safely. The bridge makes the connection or link and makes a relationship possible, if you choose to cross. It is impossible to cross the gap of sin safely without the Lord. Trying to cross the gap on your own is possible and many have tried. They may start off fine but sin rules us. Then when they reach the bottom of the gorge they find that the result of sin is death without Jesus Christ. (Rom. 6:23) You just canít make it through eternity without him. But you must start your eternal journey with the Lord now.
2. The Building of the Bridge
The Bridge has to touch both sides. When the construction of the New River Bridge began they erected two towers. The names of those towers were called mercy and grace. Each tower on the sides of the gorge would provide a link to the other. Cables were stretched and the beams were put into place to allow for the building of the deck. Jesus was sent from God to be our living example of who and what God is. He came that we may know Him who is from above. He went back to the father so that we may be represented there. Fully God and Fully Man, the Son of Man successfully bridged the gap in our place. Now we may know the Father if you know the Son.
Although it was not part of his plan, at Calvary rebellious man constructed a bridge. In crucifying the Son of God, man had a part in building the "new and living way" to God. Now all of us, whether we are Greek or Jew, circumcision or uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond or free, can walk together across that bridge. "For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us." (Ephesians 2:14)
The Bridge has to have a firm foundation, so that it wonít slip.
Tons of concrete grout was pumped into the ground to fill the old mines underneath the pillars for the legs of the span. The solid rock cliffs were under girded with the grout to support the weight of the bridge. Jesus is fully God and fully man. He is the creation that God created man to be. How do we know that Jesus can still hear us? How do we know that he wonít fail us? We know because he was raised from the dead on the third day. Seen by over 500 people after the resurrection he became our salvation.
The Bridge has to be made of a strong material. The New River Bridge is made of cor-ten steel that doesnít rust. The bridge weighs 88 million pounds. Jesus is our bridge. He has withstood the test of life and passed with an A. He was here with us and walked among us. He lived and died here. He ate here and drank here. He slept here and dreamed here. He was put to the final test of obedience. He gave his life that we may live. On the third day the Father raised him up from the grave in victory. He was strong enough to die so that we may live.
The Bridge was very costly. The New Bridge cost 37 million. Our bridge to God cost Him the life of the only Son of God. He died so that we may never die. He gave his life for us. For us the cost is free.
3. The Crossing of the Bridge.
The Bridge must be crossed to become beneficial. It must be used.
While we were walking the mile from town to the bridge we passed through thousands of people, but when we got to the bridge there were relatively fewer people looking over the edge. I suspect that some went to Bridge Day and did not even walk on the span. What if there were some who would not cross the bridge? Would they still benefit from it without taking advantage of what it has to offer?
A tiny girl was taking a long journey and in the course of the day her train was obliged to cross a number of rivers. The water seen in advance always awakened doubts and fears in the child. She did not understand how it could safely be crossed. As they drew near the river, however, a bridge appeared, and furnished the way over. Several times the same thing happened, and finally the child leaned back with a long breath of relief and confidence: "Somebody has put bridges for us all the way!" she said in trusting content. That is how we find it in life; God has built bridges for us all the way.
The Bridge must be trusted/believed in
You drive your car over the George Washington Bridge or the New River Bridge with perfect faith that it will hold you, and you arrive safely on the other side.
With just as good faith you may drive onto some wooden bridge over a country stream, but if the boards are decayed you will be let down into the stream. It is not your sincerity or your faith that keeps you safe. It was the object of your faith that made the difference. If you place all the faith in the world in a religious system, you will be lost. But the smallest amount of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ assures your salvation (Acts 3:16). by Donald Grey Barnhouse, Bible Truths Illustrated (Keats Publishing, 1979), p. 27.
Will you put your trust in Bridge that will carry you safely through out your life and death? What is the object of your faith? Will it carry you safely across? When you die do you want to be with the Lord in heaven? Why should they let you in? What will you say when you are asked by God why should I let into heaven? Then that is the object of your faith. If you believe that Jesus can save you will you trust him and follow him? Without trusting and following him you wonít be able to make it across and enjoy what a life with God has to offer you now and in the future.
Have you crossed that Bridge? Will you cross that bridge when you come to it or will you go now? Jesus is your bridge over the river of death to the safety of the arms of the loving heavenly Father. Will you cross that bridge when you come to it? You are here today standing ready to cross. Now is the time to cross the bridge that God has made for you and me. He is the bridge. You have come to that bridge now. Stay on the Bridge of Christ. He will continue to carry you throughout your life. The joy of the Lord will be your strength and the view is great from up there.