In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you,I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.. ~ John 14:2-3
It’s no telling how many funerals and memorial services have included these comforting verses. They indeed point us to a future home with Jesus… but instead of the traditional view of these verses being about a wonderful home awaiting us at the conclusion of a faithful life of service, I want you to consider whether they could be just as much about a new relationship Jesus intended to establish with us in the present. What if He was talking about our place in His family right now as much as he was of a distant future with mansions and streets of gold?
If we do a quick Bible study, I think a deeper meaning emerges that goes beyond the usual understanding of this passage.
If you look further down in passage in John 14, Jesus tells his disciples that “before long, the world will not see Me anymore, but you will see Me.” (vs 19) This clear reference to His impending crucifixion and resurrection would likely indicate that He was talking about His coming death throughout the whole conversation which begins all the way back at the beginning of the chapter.
The confusion comes for us because, typically, when we read the word “house” in verse 1 we think of location, but the same Greek word can also be translated as “household” or “family” as in John 8:35. “Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.” In this parallel passage, Jesus obviously isn’t trying to say that a slave doesn’t have a literal room or place to sleep like the son. He means the slave doesn’t have the same position in the family as the son. Some versions of scripture add to the confusion by translating verse 1 as “My Father’s house has many rooms” when the original word for “room” just means “dwelling place.” The simple idea Christ was trying to convey was that His Father’s household was a place to dwell permanently.
So tying all this together, Christ essentially told his followers that He was going away (through His death) to open the door for them to become a permanent part of the family of God. And in hindsight, we know our relationship with the Lord isn’t achieved at some future time in eternity, but is already established through Christ’s death on the cross. Through His sacrifice and our belief in Him, we’re invited to dwell in the Father’s love forever.
Jesus reiterated this invitation to a new relationship with familiar words. “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (vs 6) These words emphasize the importance of knowing Him because ‘the way’ is a person, not rules and regulations
The truth is a person… Everything else is falsehood.
The Life is also a person and when we choose anything other than Him, we’ll always be headed toward death.
In this concise statement, Christ reminds us that life with God isn’t found in following a static list of rules from tablets of stone or uncovering a secret process to decode. Knowing Him must always be our prime objective. As with almost everything in Christianity, it all comes down to trust and faith. While rules are easier, we’ll never be able to keep them all and even if we could, they will never satisfy the longing of our hearts. When we make the Him our focus, we can be confident that He will give us all that we need.