Wednesday, September 17, 2014
An un-troubled heart, continued
We're studying a familiar passage this week: John 14:1-11. Let's continue and see some reasons why Jesus says we should trust Him, and trust the Father.
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 . . . (verses 2-3)
At this point, I think we all like to pause and just let that sink in, ay? God's house is large; it has many, many rooms. He's not going to run out of space for us. And there is a space for each and every one of us. It's not a hotel -- it is a home, and His children live with Him in His house. It is very spacious, so He never runs out of room; and there is a room designed for each of the eleven, even Peter, who must have still be shaking his head in disbelief. And if we trust Him, there is a room there for each of us. So, all of us that are impulsive like Peter, and all of us who are imperfect saints, struggling to follow Jesus, can rest and not let our hearts be in turmoil. We can trust Jesus. We can trust God. We will have a place in His house -- a place in His household, as His child.
To as many as received Him, to them He gave power to become the
children of God. (John 1:12)
This is the message that He wanted to have sinking into their consciousness: Yes, I'm going away, and you can't come with me now. Yes, you will be scattered and frightened tonight when they strike Me, the shepherd, and I will go alone to do My work. But don't let your fear, your sadness, even your shame produce fretfulness -- don't let your hearts be troubled. Why? Because you can trust Me, and trust God. There will be a place for you in my Father's house, as His children, and that is forever.
If that doesn't make us drop to our knees in gratitude, I don't know what will!
Secondly, let's notice that Jesus mentions not once, but twice, that He is going to prepare a place for us. What does that really mean? In our mortal world, many of us find ourselves making repairs and preparing places for family members, either in their houses or ours. To have an elderly family member or parent move into a younger person's home requires a great deal of preparation for safety and other issues. And there is repair work each year that we must do in order to keep our homes in good shape. We are all familiar with these things . . . is that what Jesus means? Is heaven in disrepair? Is the abundant life of fellowship with God in need of improvement?
In my studies I found some notes that clarified this: heaven is not in disrepair (of course). The sweetness of fellowship with God is not defective (of course not). Our dwelling near the heart of God has actually been planned for redeemed sinners (that's us) since before the world was created.
Here is one way that things are not yet ready . . . what was not yet prepared is the way to "reserve" your room in God's presence. Remember, sin had not yet been atoned for. Jesus is the Lamb of God, and He is about to be slain. The wrath of God, the condemnation for our sins had not yet been atoned for; Jesus will bear our burdens on the cross, and defeat death. Each and every obstacle between us and our room in the Father's house is going to be removed in the next momentous, scary, awesome three days.
No one takes it (my life) from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.
I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This
command I received from my Father. (John 10:18)
I think that Jesus is saying that the pathway is not yet quite complete -- there is more to be done. Look at verses 4-6:
And you know the way to where I am going. Thomas said to Him, Lord,
we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?" Jesus
said to him, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the
Father except through me."
I hope you will leave a comment and straighten me out if you think I'm wrong, but I believe that Jesus is telling Thomas (and the rest) that He's going to prepare a place for all of us. And as He goes, He is actually becoming the Way that we get there. He is the Truth that we hold onto, the Truth in which we place our trust. And He is also the Life, the eternal life that we will enjoy once we arrive in this special place.
In other words, we don't need to have troubled hearts about the fact that we are imperfect, unworthy, sinful people. Our sins don't mean that we will find our spot in God's household unavailable. It won't be taken by someone else. Because Jesus is going to purchase our forgiveness and become the Way to the Father. He is going to make our room not only available, but "just right" and a certainty for all of His redeemed sheep.
So let not your hearts be troubled. Trust Him.
Join us again tomorrow and we'll finish this passage.