Focal Passage: John 13:31-14:6
A few years ago, Emily and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary by taking a very special vacation. The only difficult part was leaving our small children behind for over a week as we traveled to a distant country.
As expected, our girls were very apprehensive about us leaving. I was a little nervous about leaving them as well. We had practically been with them every moment since they were born, providing for all of their needs, protecting them from everything imaginable, and loving them the best we could.
But now we were about to be separated from them like never before. The most difficult moment came the night before we departed when one of my daughters became very emotional and said, “Daddy, what if you don’t come home?”
When I think about our daughter’s emotional concern over being separated from us, it gives me a little perspective for how the disciples felt in the upper room when Jesus told them that He would soon be going away. The emotional high they experienced on Sunday during Jesus’ triumphal entry quickly deflated as He explained to them that in a matter of hours He would be betrayed, arrested, beaten, and sentenced to death.
The disciples had spent each day with Jesus for three years, watching Him perform countless miracles, teach incredible lessons, model a godly life, and love them like no one else – and now it was all coming to an end. However, in their most anxious moment our Lord provided them with the greatest hope imaginable.
Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 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 take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:1-3).
While the news of Jesus’ departure was deeply troubling to the disciples, our Lord explained that it was all necessary to fulfill the greatest promise God ever made. By going to the cross and dying for their sins, Jesus was “preparing a place” for them in heaven.
What will this place be like? Christ gives us a comforting picture by describing his Father’s house as having “many rooms.” While the KJV translates this phrase as “many mansions,” giving the impression that heaven will be a giant subdivision, where every believer will have his or her own “mansion just over the hilltop,” the actual word in the original language is “rooms.”
In the first century, as families expanded, fathers would often build additional rooms onto their homes called “insulas” to accommodate new family members. The idea was to have a home large enough where the whole family could be together in close fellowship. Therefore, Jesus is describing heaven as a place where He will be in close fellowship with believers for eternity.
So ironically, even though the disciples were fearful and emotional after Jesus told them about His departure, this temporary separation was the only means of enabling them to be in close fellowship with Him forever. Such truth should calm our troubled hearts today. Soli Deo Gloria! B&R