Getting into the Game

“I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved.” – Jesus, as quoted in John 10:9 (NIV)

When our son gave us tickets for a Pittsburgh Pirates home game a number of years ago, I got online to see what we could and could not take in. It had been quite a while since Dean and I had been to PNC Park, and I wanted to review the rules.

Hubby and I aren’t big spenders, so we rarely purchased concession stand food. Oh, I know it’s part of the ballpark experience, but our wallets can stretch only so far. We usually packed a cooler with a picnic lunch. One time we munched on sandwiches on a grassy, shady spot not far from the ballpark.

A few days before the game, I googled “PNC PARK” and clicked on the information page for food and beverage/gate policy.

A hard-sided cooler was out, but we were allowed one soft-sided bag each, no larger than 16 x 16 x 8 inches. No ice packs or cooler inserts. Sealed, clear water bottles no larger than 24 ounces were allowed, but not carbonated beverages, sports drinks, cans, or thermoses. Bags were subject to be checked. No surprises there.

But there was a new policy that semi-surprised me: Every person had to go through a metal detector before being allowed in the ballpark. It was similar to going through the security checkpoint at the airport, except you didn’t have to take your jacket, belt, and shoes off. And you can keep your wallet, keys, and watch. But your cell phone, tablet, laptop and camera had to go in a tray as you walked through the detector.

In light of today’s world, this was for the safety and protection of everyone who attended the game.

Someday we’ll all stand at the gate of heaven. We won’t have to worry about taking food in—indeed, all who enter will enjoy a banquet of unimaginable proportions. And we won’t need any of our electronic gadgets. Everything we need for our eternal life will be waiting for us in the dwelling place (some versions use the word “mansion”) Jesus said He’d prepare for us (John 14:2).

Although we won’t have to pass through a device that detects things that aren’t allowed in (see Revelation 21:8; 22:15—in short, sin), we do have to pass through the one and only gate that will allow us in: Jesus Himself.

“I am the gate,” He said. “Whoever enters through Me will be saved” (John 10:9).

“I am the way, the truth, and the life,” He said. “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

And again: “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11–12).

Walking through the gate of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all the sin that would keep us out of heaven.

Have you passed through the gate? Have you gotten into the game?
Thank you, God, for providing the way into Your home. Amen.

Read and reflect on John 10:7–11.

Of Prostitutes and Promises


Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab . . . – Matthew 1:5 NIV

… was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? – James 2:25 NIV

By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. – Hebrews 11:31 NIV        

The year: circa 1400 BC. The place: Jericho, the most fortified city in the land of Canaan.

Having served their sentence of forty years in the wilderness, the Israelites were knocking at Jericho’s gates. Even though God’s chosen people were still on the other side of the Jordan River, the inhabitants of Jericho—10,000 strong—were terrified. They’d heard all about how the Red Sea miraculously parted so the children of Israel could walk through on dry ground, and how the pursuing Egyptians drowned. They’d heard about how the Israelites, a fugitive nation with little or no military training, had annihilated the Amorite kingdoms of kings Sihon and Og.

And now, here they were, just across the river, poised to strike. Yep, the citizens of Jericho were shaking in their sandals.

But the Israelites didn’t know this. Not until Joshua, their leader, sent two spies to the city. It should come as no surprise that these men ended up in the house of the only person in Jericho who would protect them—a prostitute by the name of Rahab.

When the king sent his heavies to Rahab’s house to arrest the spies, she said they’d already left.

“If you hurry,” she told them, “you can catch up with them.”

Then she went up to the roof, where the spies were hiding under stalks of flax laid out for drying.

“I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you,” she said, adding that they’d heard what had happened at the Red Sea and to the two kings. “Everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God of heaven above and on the earth below.”

Her words jogged their memory: “I will put the terror and fear of you on all the nations under heaven,” God had promised not too long before. “They will hear reports of you and will tremble and be in anguish because of you” (Deuteronomy 2:25 NIV).

Rahab then asked for protection for her and her family when they conquered the city. The spies promised, tying a scarlet cord in the window that would identify her house to the invading Israelites.

You know what happened. The walls of Jericho fell down flat, the Israelites conquered and burned the city, and Rahab and her family were saved.

But did you know that Rahab, the former harlot, married Salmon, who is believed to be the son of Caleb, one of the two spies who came back with a good report forty years earlier? The union of their son Boaz and Ruth produced Obed, the grandfather of King David, an ancestor of Jesus the Messiah.

This is a story of faith and faithfulness: the remarkable faith of Rahab, which distinguished her for the future “Hall of Faith” (Hebrews 11), and the faithfulness of God, who always keeps His promises.

Take note: Jericho fell a few weeks after the flax was harvested—in March, the time of the Passover. The crimson blood of the Passover lamb represented a promise, a covenant, between God and the Israelites. The scarlet cord in Rahab’s window identified the one to whom a promise was made.

Fast forward 1,400 years, to the night one of Rahab’s descendants, a man named Jesus, held up a cup of wine, and proclaimed, “This is My blood of the new covenant …”

This blood, the blood of God’s only Son, fulfilled the promise He made at the dawn of civilization, when the sin of our first parents created a chasm between them, and hence all mankind, and a loving Creator.

If Rahab—a common prostitute who lived in a nation whose wickedness aroused God’s wrath and marked them for total destruction—could believe the promises of a God she’d only heard of at the risk of her life, how can we, who have God’s Word and His Spirit, not also believe?

Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set thy people free. From our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in thee. Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art. Dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.*

*From “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus,” by Charles Wesley. Public domain.

Read and reflect on Joshua 2.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons © 2018 Michele Huey.