The Bridge of Sighs
“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
1 Timothy 2:5 (ESVUK)
Venice has many bridges over its canals but one the most famous is the ‘Bridge of Sighs’. This small bridge, built in the early 17th century to join the interrogation rooms of the Doges Palace (the ruler in Venice was called the Doge) to the nearby prison building, spans a small canal which separates the two buildings.
Nobody knows for certain why it’s called the ‘Bridge of Sighs’ but the most popular explanation is that as prisoners were being led over the bridge to the prison they would catch a last glimpse of Venice through the windows and utter sighs of sadness for their loss of freedom.
A local legend also claims that lovers will be granted eternal love and bliss if they kiss on a gondola at sunset under the ‘Bridge of Sighs’ as the bells of St Mark’s Campanile ring out.
As the above scripture states, Jesus Christ is the one mediator between God and men. As fully God and fully man, he is the spiritual bridge between God and humanity, and humanity and God.
But there is no sadness at passing over this bridge because the Christian passes from death to life. As Jesus assured, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgement, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24).
There is no toll to pay on this bridge; crossing over from death to life comes as a free gift by grace, “…the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
Humanity does not cross the bridge as a prisoner, but is set free from sin and death for, “…if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
Unlike the local legend where eternal love is said to rely on carrying out certain rituals under the ‘Bridge of Sighs,’ the reality is that it is only by crossing over the bridge of Christ that we can experience an eternal relationship of love with the Father, Son and Spirit.
A bridge was built in the nineteenth century which spans the river Cam and joins two buildings of St John’s College Cambridge University. Although named the ‘Bridge of Sighs’ after the famous bridge at Venice, it bears little architectural similarity with the original. The bridge of Christ is also unique—there is no other bridge to salvation. As the apostle Paul states, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Father we thank you that you have provided all that is required for salvation and fellowship with you through the one mediator, Jesus Christ.
Study by Eddie Marsh
Grace Communion, Sheffield
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