Bridge: a time, place, or means of connection or transition
Thought for the Day: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV
The Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa, Florida is an incredible overpass. Although there are numerous bridges that can be noted as incredible structures stretched across large bodies of water, this particular one stands out to me. I have included background information on the construction of this bridge found on Google, of course, but it is very interesting because this passage was built after a tragic occurrence.
Here is the story: The Sunshine Skyway Bridge stretches 29,040 feet from St. Petersburg to Bradenton, Florida. That's over four miles, most of it across the mouth of Tampa Bay. It's an amazing sight, a shining compliment to the sunshine and seascapes of west Florida.
The history of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge begins with its predecessor, a steel cantilever bridge of the same name. The old bridge guarded over Tampa Bay for almost 30 years until May 9, 1980, when a terrible thunderstorm smashed the freighter Summit Venture into the bridge. Over 1,000 feet of the bridge collapsed into the water, killing 35 people.
The 1980 disaster was a major tragedy, and the state realized that a new bridge was needed. Demolition crews were brought in to safely destroy what remained of the old bridge. The supports were later turned into fishing piers.
The article continues with materials used to build the new overpass which was completed and ready for use in 1987 at a cost of $244 million and an obsession with safety.
Just important as bridge connectors are to unite point A to point B, so is the importance of a spiritual bridge that ties us to eternity. Due to the sins of the world, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to be the perfect, sinless spiritual bridge connecting us to God. Just as in days of old when lambs, as perfect as humanly possible, were taken to the tabernacle to be offered for a sins, a sacrifice was needed for the sins of the world. Once that one sacrifice was made, the need for the continuous offering of lambs would be needed no more. However, there wasn’t a sinless offering found throughout all the earth because, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” It wasn’t possible for any animal or human being to be offered due to sin and imperfectness.
Jesus, fully man and fully God, was the only sinless offering acceptable and willing to give his life. And the tragedy that happened? Jesus was falsely accused, brought before those who feared the angry mob, and when given the offer of releasing Jesus or an accused criminal, the crowd chose the criminal, Barabbas. Jesus was beaten unrecognizable, skin torn from his back, losing his life’s blood with a crown of thorns thrust upon his head, was made to carry a heavy wooden cross on his back to the place of his crucifixion. When he stumbled and fell, a man was pulled from the crowd to carry the cross the rest of the way to Golgotha. Nails were driven into his hands and feet, the cross thudded into the ground and he hung on that cross, dying for you and for me. Jesus Christ became the spiritual bridge needed by you and for me. This bridge gave victory over eternal death. This bridge made a way to the Father. This is the only bridge you desperately need to cross.
Let me give another example. If you have ever visited the Grand Canyon you will remember the sight of the immense divide between sides of that Canyon. Now suppose your loved ones are on the other side. You have a dire need to get from point A to point B, but there isn’t a connection found to make this possible. They are calling out to you, but you feel so helpless in this attempt.
But wait you see a bridge and you begin to run because this will finally allow you to cross to the other side. When you arrive at the bridge you notice it is wooden, in the shape of a large cross and has blood stains streaked all over it. Although you don’t really understand, you need to use this passage to get to the other side.
That’s the decision each of us must make at some point in our lives. We either believe that blood stained wooden cross will sustain us to the other side where the glory of God lives and those who have gone before are thriving spiritually or we stay put. One day the bridge will no longer be a transport. That day will come when death comes calling for us or Jesus returns first for those who have believed in him.
It’s up to you. Are you staying put or crossing the bridge built by Jesus Christ?
Father, thank you for sending Jesus. May we as believers be bold enough to simply tell the story of his life giving love that made a way for eternal bliss. May blinders fall from the eyes of those who don’t believe before breath leaves their human bodies. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Judith "Cookie" White is the founder of The Sounding Board Ministry. She is the author of two devotional books which are available on this site.