“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 will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” (John 14:1-4)
In the midst of uncertainty, John 14 provides the eleven disciples who were with Jesus in the upper room, and Jesus’ disciples today, comfort. This comfort for Jesus’ disciples is not only in the future return of Christ but also during a disciples’ life here on earth amidst toil and tribulation.
John 14 provides the church today with a series of wonderful passages of biblical truth and encouragement. How ironic for that to be the case when you understand the historical context in which Jesus’ discourse occurred.
Dr. John MacArthur contributes valuable insight when he writes, “The scene continues to be the upper room where the disciples had gathered with Jesus before he was arrested. Judas had been dismissed (13:30) and Jesus had begun his valedictory address to the remaining 11. The world of the disciples was about to be shattered; they would be bewildered, confused, and ridden with anxiety because of the events that would soon transpire. Anticipating their devastation, Jesus spoke to comfort their hearts.”
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” The word heart in the Greek (καρδία; kardia) refers to a person’s mind, emotions and will. In other words, a person’s inner self or soul. Jesus said to His disciples then, and now, to not let your inner self or soul be troubled (ταράσσω; tarasso), meaning mentally distressed.
What are disciples to do instead? Since they believe or trust in God the Father, they are also to believe and trust in Jesus Christ. To believe (πιστεύω; pisteuo) means not only to trust, but also to commit, depend and worship Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
As one commentator writes, “Have the same trust in Me. What less, and what else, can these words mean? And if so, what a demand to make by one sitting familiarly with them at the supper table! Compare the saying in John 5:17, for which the Jews took up stones to stone Him, as “making himself equal with God” (John 14:18). But it is no transfer of our trust from its proper Object; it is but the concentration of our trust in the Unseen and Impalpable One upon His Own Incarnate Son, by which that trust, instead of the distant, unsteady, and too often cold and scarce real thing it otherwise is, acquires a conscious reality, warmth, and power, which makes all things new. This is Christianity in brief.”
Jesus then makes this remarkably remembered and endearing statement. “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.”
Notice how many times Jesus uses the personal pronoun “I.” Six times in verses two through four. Christianity is centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ. If we uttered these words as our own we would be blaspheming. However, for Jesus to utter these same words and promises is the essence of biblical truth and the gospel.
Dr. MacArthur explains that, “His departure would be for their advantage since he was going away to prepare a heavenly home for them and will return to take them so that they may be with him. This is one of the passages that refers to the rapture of the saints at the end of the age when Christ returns. The features in this description do not describe Christ coming to earth with his saints to establish his kingdom (Rev. 19:11–15), but taking believers from earth to live in heaven. Since no judgment on the unsaved is described here, this is not the event of his return in glory and power to destroy the wicked (cf. Matt. 13:36–43, 47–50). Rather, this describes his coming to gather his own who are alive and raise the bodies of those who have died to take them all to heaven. This rapture event is also described in 1 Cor. 15:51–54 and 1 Thess. 4:13–18. After being raptured, the church will celebrate the marriage supper (Rev. 19:7–10), be rewarded (1 Cor. 3:10–15; 4:5; 2 Cor. 5:9–10), and later return to earth with Christ when he comes again to set up his kingdom (Rev. 19:11–20:6).”
The way that Jesus refers to is His own substitutionary death, burial and resurrection on behalf of sinners. This salvation becomes a reality for sinners through the instrument of God-given faith and faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone. Its basis is the sovereign grace alone. Its purpose is that God alone would receive all the glory.
Take some precious moments today to thank Jesus for preparing a place for you in heaven. Take time to thank God the Father for graciously choosing you to be a recipient of His love and mercy through Jesus Christ. Take time to praise and glorify God for this unspeakable gift.
Soli deo Gloria!