Construction began in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1964 of a 1,907-foot 8-lane arch truss bridge for Interstate 35 over the Mississippi River. Bridge 9340 was completed three years later, with over 140,000 drivers per day. However, in 2001, the Civil Engineering Department of the University of Minnesota reported a deficiency with the cross girders at the end of the approach spans. Four years later, it was rated as “structurally deficient,” but it took a year for the cracking to be obvious. Then a year later on Wednesday, August 1, 2007, during rush hour traffic at 6:05 p.m., the central span suddenly gave way and collapsed into the river, with a fall of over 81-feet, killing 13 and injuring 100 more. Structural integrity was lacking.
The Hebrew word for “integrity” implies wholeness of mind, soundness, and the absence of an evil purpose. An integral person is one who is upright (Psalm 25:21). In other words, he is a reliable “bridge.” Incorruptible integrity implies that we are who we pretend to be. The very concept convicts us of our hypocrisy and challenges us to constantly search our hearts, asking the Holy Spirit: “Try me and know my thoughts! See if there be any grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23, 24). After all, we are to be bridges of the gospel for the lost to know Jesus.
It is my joy to have Dr. Jim Henry preaching in our pulpit this weekend. He is the epitome of long-term faithfulness and moral integrity. The renowned pastor of First Baptist Orlando for many years, he is particularly known as a loving, encouraging shepherd. He was the instrument God used to recommend me to our Pastor Search Team in 1991. Also, his brother Joe is a member of our church.
While sinful human beings are flawed, our perfect Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, demonstrated absolute and ultimate integrity in His person, teaching, and plans. He is the true bridge for sinful man to get to Holy God as the only One who has merit before the Holy Father. He is the only One who can be “The Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). Naturally, men prefer their own compromised, cracked bridges, whether it be the militant violence of Islam, the crass idolatry of Hinduism, or the empty searching of Buddhism. Man’s glorification of himself in humanism and attempt to be his own god in the New Age will also collapse under the weight of guilt and inadequacy before the wrath of God.
Cast yourself upon Jesus who will never fall or fail. “Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand” (Romans 5:2).