Means and ends. Tickets and treasures. For too long my view of Christ was like this, too worldly, not Biblical enough. I've seen the cross, i've seen Jesus as the ticket, and Heaven as the treasure. I saw justification as the be all and end all, and the renewed relationship with God the Father as a nice added extra, icing on the cake of Christianity. It was as if my eyes had been closed when i'd been reading long passages of the Bible. I'd reduced Jesus, the eternal, immortal Son of God, in all His glory and majesty to a stepping stone, a ticket, a bus trip, a means, rather than the end. The Gospel was about me. My forgiveness, my eternal joy, my status as forgiven.
Isn't that plain awful? Seeing Christ as a means to an end, as someone who gets me somewhere? isn't Jesus much much more than that?
Yes He is, Christ, in His death on the cross is the ticket to Heaven, and Christ, the risen, exulted, glorious Christ is the end of Heaven. To see Him, enjoy Him and give glory to the Father through so doing is the end for which God created the world.
So yes, absolutly, Christ is the means, His is the ticket. 'No one comes to the Father except though me', '(Christ) died as a ransom for many.' Isaiah tells us that 'he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities...and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.' There's no getting away from the fact that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. That Jesus, by removing all that stands in our way from a relationship with God the Father, is uniquely how we can face judgment with confidence. He is the way. Yes, He is the ticket.
But what makes Heaven so good? Jesus. In John 17 Jesus prays '
John Piper at T4G 2008 couldn't find an analogy for a ticket that become a treasure, that is the treasure. So i don't feel bad about failing to do so. But this is the Gospel. God, is the Gopsel. It's not Heaven if Jesus isn't there. He is the ticket, and the glorious, overwhelming satisfying treasure.