We all know that we are not going to live forever. Still, we don’t usually like to think about death and dying. It troubles us.
There is a word in the New Testament usually translated as “troubled;” it describes the inner turmoil and anxiety familiar to each of us – that gut-wrenching anxiety and agony we experience in uncertain and threatening circumstances. You know the feeling…
John 11 reports that Jesus was troubled. Verse 33 describes Jesus as being “deeply moved and greatly troubled.” Jesus was not only troubled but greatly troubled.
Jesus has faced turmoil and gut-wrenching anxiety just as we do. Would you like to know how he handled it? His strategy is revealed in John 14.
It is the night that Jesus was betrayed and arrested. He knows that on the next day he will die an agonizing death on a Roman cross. Jesus has been preparing his disciples for this time. He informed them that he is going away from them, and they are unable to go with him. The disciples must have been crushed. Their expectations shattered! Was Jesus about to abandon his disciples?
And Jesus says: (literally) Stop being troubled! The force of the verb in the original calls for us to stop an action already in progress. Stop being troubled. (My previous blog describes how.)
The next step is disclosed in verses 2 – 4:
Vs. 2-4 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”
Jesus is telling us: Control your mind by thinking about heaven. His strategy also reveals promises of the Lord Jesus, reflecting nuggets of information about heaven:
- Heaven is home.
Home is not only where you live; home is more than where you store your stuff or spend the night. Home is where you are accepted and protected. It is a safe place.
Jesus refers to his future glory as my Father’s house. Jesus almost always called God, his Father. This is what makes heaven – heaven! Heaven is where God is, where God dwells. So, heaven is the Father’s house.
Many Christians, who love Jesus have a remarkable desire to be with him. We have had friends or parents or grandparents who spoke of heaven as “going home.” Perhaps they are exhausted from the rigors of life, or perhaps they have struggled with a disease or disability. They know that their citizenship is really in heaven and long to go there.
Those who are assured of their destiny long to go home to be with their Lord!
- Heaven is a permanent place.
Jesus speaks of heaven as a real place.
In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
Heaven is a real place. It is the actual place where Jesus Christ went to prepare for us. We will consider how he prepared it for us later. But for now, recognize that heaven is a real place. It is currently the physical abode of the man, Christ Jesus. This will be a new heaven and a new earth.
It is a place with rooms. Let’s think about this for a moment. The KJV of this verse is well known. “In my Father’s house are many mansions (KJV)”. The modern versions each translate rooms and it sounds like perhaps we have been cheated out. Before we were going to get a mansion; now we only get a room!?
The KJV’s translation follows the Latin vulgate of Jerome and utilizes a Latin word, often meaning room or dwelling place that forms the root of our word mansion. The actual Greek term is seldom used but refers to the place where one dwells or lives and does not imply size or lavishness. The only other place it is employed in scripture is v. 23; Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
Some interpreters argue because of v. 23 and other usages of the term outside of the NT, that a permanent in contrast to a temporary dwelling is in view. It seems that Jesus is stressing our security and safety in the new heaven and new earth. We look forward to a settled and secure home in heaven!
Our home in heaven will be in the Father’s house. We will not only live in the same neighborhood, but We will reside in the house of the great King! Further, we will be there because Jesus Christ wants us to be with him!
Although thinking of the end of our earthly life can be troublesome, Jesus’ strategy comforts us. Jesus wanted us to be with him so much that he came and prepared a way and a place for us.