Based on: John 14:1-12
Yes, it is still the Easter season, that portion of the church year in which we celebrate the resurrection, but the words we hear from Jesus in the gospel for today are words that he spoke to his disciples on Maundy Thursday evening. It is good for us to recognize this because it gives us a glimpse into the heart of our Savior. Jesus knew that in less than 24 hours he was going to suffer horribly and then finally die on the cross. In spite of that, actually because of that, he took time to give these words of comfort to his disciples. He gives these words of comfort to us as well.
Why did his disciples need this comfort? Think about some of the things that happened on Maundy Thursday. Jesus told his disciples that one of them would betray him. He also told them that Peter was going to deny him. And in the past, at many times, he warned them that he was going to suffer and die. The disciples had spent three wonderful years with their teacher and Lord, but now he is warning them of some pretty horrible events that were going to happen. They needed comfort for the the terror and the temptations of despair that they would face, in that time between Christ’s death and his resurrection.
You too can be certain that you will face terror as a Christian. You to will experience suffering and pain. These words that he tells his disciples are also true for you, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”
Yes, it is true. Jesus was about to leave them, but it was for their own good. Jesus tells them, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
What tremendous words of comfort these are for the disciples during the time when they would not see Jesus physically. What tremendous comfort for us during this time while we live on earth and do not see our Savior physically. These words have comforted many Christians as they face trials in this life and as they face death. There are a number of things that we can say about these words.
Jesus does have a special place for you. He is preparing it especially for you. The word that he uses to describe the place he is preparing for you refers to permanent places to live. In Greek the word translated “rooms” is a word that means a place in which you dwell, permanently. It is in contrast to the word for tent which the apostle Paul uses to describe our life here on earth, a temporary place to live.
We do have a much better place waiting for us. However, one of Satan’s lies is to get you to believe that this world is your permanent dwelling, that this world is where you should focus your attention and your energy and your resources. Yet this world does not belong to us, and we should not become too attached to the things of this world because we have even greater riches waiting for us, promised to us, in this place that Christ has prepared for us.
And Christ himself has prepared it for us. That is his promise. If you don’t believe that, consider that the very reason we cannot see him on this earth is because he is preparing it for us.
Even more comfort to draw from these words is the promise that he will return so that we can enjoy that place he has prepared for us. His departure from this world is not one that allows harm to come to his disciples or to us, but his departure is for all our good. And even though he is not here physically he is still with us and watches over us. We have the assurance that one day those who were not attached to closely to the homes they had on this earth but instead focused on the home they have in heaven will enjoy their heavenly homes. Those who through unbelief in Jesus as their Savior have held on too tightly to the things of this world will not have a place prepared for them in the Father’s house.
Jesus has told the disciples that he is going away to prepare a permanent place for them and that he will come back, but he also tells his disciples that they know the way. The disciple Thomas, is confused. He doesn’t know which way Jesus is talking about. Do I need to follow Highway 14 or Highway 4? Which direction do I ago? Thomas is thinking about and earthly way, and Jesus has to point him in a different direction.
Jesus says, “I am the way in the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus tells Thomas and the other disciples, “No, you have it wrong. It is a spiritual way. It is a way that you can go only through faith in me, Thomas.”
Notice that Jesus did not say he would teach them the way or show them the way, as if getting to heaven was something they could do if they had a little direction. No, Jesus is the way because it doesn’t depend on anything we can do but only on what Christ has done. Faith in Jesus as the only path able to carry me all the way to heaven. ,
This path though, doesn’t look at all like a road that goes anywhere. Just think how the disciples were about to see Jesus crucified. A man who was executed, is that the way to heaven? Imagine what it was like for the children of Israel as Moses brought them down out of Egypt and brought them to the Red Sea. Pharaoh and his soldiers were about to come upon them and destroy them and all they could see in front of them was water. There was no way out. But as the water separated they were able to cross on dry ground. It took faith in God to travel that path between two huge walls of water that could come down on them at any moment, but they traveled along that path and were saved.
Jesus tells us to despair of all human knowledge, all human wisdom and all human power and instead to hold on to his Word because in his Word God tells us what he did to prepare of room for each of us in heaven. He sent his Son to pay the punishment that you and I deserve for our sins, for all of our offenses against God.
This is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the only way to eternal life. There are of course other paths you could follow. Many of them look wide and straight and recently paved, but if you follow one of those paths you will eventually find out that they lead to a dead end.
As for you, you are already on the way, the only way that leads to heaven. Stay on this way until the end. Just like the Israelites who crossed through the Red Sea, your enemy is following you on this path. You cannot stop or turn around. You must follow it until the end.
Jesus Christ is this path and Jesus Christ has also prepared for you a permanent place for you to live with him.