St. Louis, Missouri, boasts the Gateway Arch which stands at the Mississippi River as a testament to the pioneering spirit of the people approaching the eve expanding West.
Founded by the National Park Service in 1935 to commemorate Thomas Jefferson’s vision of a transcontinental United States, the Gateway Arch National Park (formerly known as the “Jefferson National Expansion Memorial”) stretches from the Old Courthouse to the steps overlooking the Mississippi River. In between, the Gateway Arch rises high, a bold monument to the pioneering spirit.
Today, the Gateway Arch celebrates the diverse people who shaped the region and the country. The dreamer, Thomas Jefferson, negotiated the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, doubling the size of the United States. The explorers, Lewis & Clark, and their Shoshone guide Sacagawea, scouted the new territory and mapped a route to the Pacific Ocean. The challengers, Dred and Harriet Scott filed suit at the Old Courthouse for their freedom from slavery, and St. Louis suffragette Virginia Minor sued for women’s right to vote. The Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen designed the stainless-steel monument that honors them all.
The graceful arch is based on the catenary curve, that is the shape made by a free-hanging chain when held at both ends. When speaking of his design, Saarinen said, “The arch symbolized the gateway to the West, the national expansion, and whatnot.”
A view of the Gateway Arch reveals over 43,000 tons of concrete and steel that arc 63 stories high into the Midwest sky. Since its completion in 1965, the tram ride in the monument has taken millions of visitors on the trip to the top to enjoy stunning views stretching up to 30 miles to the east and west.
Much more information about the arch is available at the National Park Service website. (www.nps.gov/jeff/index.htm)
The Gateway Arch, of course, is not the only way to the West. It is certainly a wonderful monument to those who made the trek through difficult terrain with less than ideal circumstances and comforts. But, today, there are many ways to get to the West from the East, in addition to going through the Gateway Arch.
Such is not the case in a matter of significantly more import than physical travel. I am speaking of our ultimate destination for eternity.
We know that we are finite creatures, born in space and time, and that we were created from dust and, given enough time, we will return to dust after our death.
In Scripture, the Holy Bible, Jesus says that He is the gateway to heaven. That is, that no one can come to the Father Almighty, God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, except through Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Unfortunately, today there are many who assert that there are a variety of “ways” to get to heaven or to please God. However, Jesus’ words do not equivocate. There is no quibbling. There is no suggestion that any other “way” is possible or effective if we want to go to heaven where the Father resides. Jesus simply and clearly said that He is the only way to the Father.
Good works are not sufficient. Giving money is not sufficient. Being hopeful that the balance will tip in your favor is not sufficient. Nothing is sufficient because everything other than what Christ did on the cross is based on our own abilities. The problem is that we are all sinners and we are dead in our sins. We can do nothing to aid ourselves or to move ourselves toward heaven. We are dead.
If a person is dead, he cannot do anything for himself. If he is to have life, an outside force must operate to give him life again. He can’t summon up the strength to get life, he is dead.
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.“
Praise God. He loved us even though we were sinners, we had been disobedient to His law. While we were sinners, before we could do anything to assist in our salvation, Christ died for us. He accomplished all that was necessary to pay for our sin.
Jesus Christ, however, rose from the dead. He conquered death and sin.
“We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.“
Because He died and rose again, He is capable to rescue us from our sins, and He will do so if we have faith in Him.
“because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
If is for this reason that Jesus could tell His disciples, that He was THE Way, THE Truth and THE Life … there is none other
There are many gateways to the Western part of the United States, but there is only one way to heaven, no matter where you live or who you are.
The Way is Jesus. He is the way to eternal life. Come to Him if you have not already done so and claim Him as your Savior and Lord of your life. If you have already come to Him, praise His name. Thank Him for the life that He has given you, now and forever more.
Father, we praise your name for the love that was expressed to us through Christ’s life and death, and for your mighty power in raising Him from the dead so that we could claim Him as our Savior and Lord. Thank you Father, thank you Lord Jesus, and thank you Holy Spirit for quickening our hearts and bringing us to yourself.
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