By Candice Lucey, Crosswalk.com
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:2-3)
Christ surrendered His earthly life to prepare a place for the disciples—but did He go to make a room ready for me too?
This concept takes center stage at Easter, but it is also the hope Christians celebrate every day of the year. We celebrate that through his crucifixion and resurrection, Christ has paid our bride price—so that we can live with Him in the Father’s house.
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Where the Bible Says ‘I Go to Prepare a Place for You’
The source of this promise is John 14:3. Christ is going to establish a place in Heaven for all believers. Christ frequently reminded the disciples not to be attached to their earthly home, and to realize that everything on earth is temporary:
Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, ‘the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.' (Luke 21:5-6)
He foreshadows the destruction of earthly empires:
With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again. (Revelation 18:21)
What Was Happening When Jesus Said He Would ‘Prepare a Place?’
Christ and the disciples had eaten their last supper together and with Judas “convicted and discarded,” Jesus had “set himself to comfort the rest, who were full of sorrow upon what he had said of leaving them.”
This chapter is “designed to keep trouble from their hearts” and to explain that they will one day enjoy “everlasting rest” in Heaven through Christ. This is where Christ prepares the disciples to receive their “comforter,” exhorting them to practice “fellowship and communion.”
Soon after this last supper, Christ would be crucified and, although He knew the trial He would face, Christ took this opportunity to comfort His flock who relied on their Rabbi for direction and wisdom. He anticipated the guilt they would feel as, like prodigal sons, they fled from their association with the supposedly disgraced Christ. If they remembered His words of comfort, the disciples would know they had not forfeited their place in Heaven with their Master.
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3 Biblical Versions of John 14:1-3
1. KJV: Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
2. NIV: Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
3. The Message: Don't let this throw you. You trust God, don't you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father's home. If that weren't so, would I have told you that I'm on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I'm on my way to get your room ready, I'll come back and get you so you can live where I live.
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What Jesus Meant By ‘if I Go and Prepare a Place for You’
“Judaism sees parents and offspring as bound to each other not only for practical or humanistic reasons, but also as a way of honoring God.”
Many times, the bible depicts extended families remaining close to each other such as Noah and his sons and Jacob and his boys. Jesus goes to prepare a permanent place for the disciples; not just a house, but a home where they will remain together forever.
Abide in me, and I in you. (John 15:4)
Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:14-17: I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.
The family home is a real dwelling place in Heaven. One also abides in Christ. Brian Hedges writes that to abide means to “be united to Jesus (connection), to rely on Jesus (dependence), and to remain in Jesus (continuance).”
What Kind of Place Does Jesus Prepare for You?
This article explains that “In Bible times men did not build houses with the idea in mind that most of their daily living would be spent inside them.” Instead, Jewish families spent much of their time outside of the house and only rested there. “The average home of the common people was a one-room dwelling.” The outside was unremarkable because “the Hebrew word bavith and the Arabic word bait mean primarily a "shelter." A Jew “always considered himself ‘a sojourner in the earth.’”
And here we learn that “In the ancient culture, a father's house was where the extended family lived. Rooms were often added on as the family grew through birth and marriage.”
The Father’s house has many “rooms” or “mansions” and is a place of permanent dwelling. Revelation portrays a city of regal beauty:
the holy Jerusalem, [...] like a most precious stone, [...] clear as crystal (Revelation 21:9-11)
The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with numerous colorful stones (Revelation 21:19-20)
Nothing can match the glory of this heavenly realm, and this is the home where Jesus went to prepare a room for us. No one who lives here will ever want to leave. To abide in Heaven is to fulfill one’s purpose: living life in eternal devotion to and worship of Christ.
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Biblical Proof that Jesus Keeps His Promises
Some of Jesus’ promises must be experienced in our own lives so that we can testify to His trustworthiness. Anyone who has found freedom from addiction, anger, busyness, or depression through the Holy Spirit knows what I mean.
But some of Jesus’ promises are fulfilled within the pages of scripture. Jesus told His disciples they could and should “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, [and] drive out demons” in His name (Matthew 10:7-8)
Luke wrote “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.” (Acts 19:11-12) Christ’s promise was fulfilled through Paul.
Jesus declared “‘Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.’ [...] After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said.” (John 2:19-22)
John 5:8 is a command and a promise rolled into one: "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." In response, the paralytic got up and walked. A promise is only as reliable as the individual who makes it. Implicit in this response was a belief that Jesus could be trusted. He gave of Himself freely, without asking anything of anyone except that they would believe.
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What Christians Have to Look Forward to in a Place Jesus Will Prepare for You
A lot of people picture a dull eternity of harp playing, tea drinking, knitting, and watching reruns of “Little House on the Prairie.” They would rather be where the party is, in Hell with Satan, not realizing that there will be no party—only a hangover.
As this author contends, Christians will be with the Lord and, although “we won't be angels [...,] we'll be with them.” Further, “We'll also have [...] satisfying and enriching work” which will “never be drudgery. God is the primary worker, and as His image-bearers, we're made to [...] set goals and fulfill them—to God's glory.”
Since “Paul anticipated being with the Thessalonians in heaven,” we can look forward to being reunited with our loved ones. (Ibid.)
Each place is designed uniquely, for the individual. This article describes that “Heaven isn’t likely to have lots of identical residences. God loves diversity, and He tailor-makes His children and His provisions for them. When we see the particular place He’s prepared for us—not just for mankind in general but for us in particular—we’ll rejoice to see our ideal home.”
Jesus has prepared a place for each believer in Heaven. He will show us to our rooms personally and, though new, they will also be familiar; part of the family home where we have always belonged.
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Candice Lucey loves Jesus and enjoys writing about Him. She lives with her family in British Columbia, Canada.