Are you waiting for your heavenly home?

424 await your heavenly homeIn two well-known old gospel songs it says: "A still uninhabited flat is waiting for me" and "My estate is just behind the mountain". These lyrics are based on the words of Jesus: "In my father's house are many apartments. If it were not so, then I would have said to you: I am going to prepare the place for you? "(Joh 14,2). These verses are also often quoted as funerals because they promise that Jesus will reward the people of God in Heaven who will wait for them after death. But was that what Jesus wanted to say? It would be wrong if we tried to relate every word of our Lord directly to our lives without considering what he meant to say to his addressee at that time.

The night before his death, Jesus sat with his disciples in the so-called Cenacle. The disciples were shocked at what they saw and heard. Jesus washed their feet, announced that among them was a traitor, and declared that Peter would betray him not once but three times. Can you imagine what they answered? "This can not be the Messiah. He speaks of suffering, betrayal and death. And we thought he was the forerunner of a new kingdom and we would rule with him! "Confusion, desperation, fear - emotions that are all too familiar to us. Disappointed expectations. And to all this, Jesus countered: "Do not worry! Trust me! "He wanted to mentally build up his disciples in view of the threatening approaching horror scenario and continued:" In my father's house are many apartments. "

But what did these words say to the disciples? The name "My Father's House" - as used in the Gospels - refers to the temple in Jerusalem (Lk 2,49, Joh 2,16). The temple had taken the place of the tabernacle, the portable tent used by the Israelites for the worship of God. Inside the tabernacle (from lat. Tabernaculum = tent, hut) was - separated by a thick curtain - a room, which was called the holy of holies. This was the homeland of God ("Tabernacle" in Hebrew means "Mishkan" = "Abode" or "Abode") in the midst of his people. Once a year, it was reserved for the high priest alone to enter this room to be aware of the presence of God.

Furthermore, the word "dwelling place" or "living space" means the place where one lives, and "in ancient Greek (the language of the New Testament) it was not commonly considered a permanent home but a stopover on a journey that will take you to another place in the long term ". [1] That would mean something other than being with God in heaven after death; For heaven is often regarded as the last and final abode of man.

Jesus now said that he would make his disciples a place to stay. Where should he go? His path should not lead him straight to heaven to build dwellings, but from the Cenacle to the Cross. With his death and resurrection, he was to prepare a place for his followers in his father's house (Joh 14,2). It was as if he meant to say, "Everything is under control. What happens may seem terrible, but it is all part of the plan of salvation. "Then he promised he would come again. In this context, he does not seem to allude to the Parousia (return) (although, of course, we look forward to Christ's apparition in glory on the Last Day), but we know that Jesus' path should lead him to the Cross, and that three days later he would be called the Death of the Risen Lord would return. Once again he returned in the form of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

"... I will come again and take you to me, that you may be where I am" (Jn 14,3), Jesus said. Let us pause for a moment with the words used here "to me". They are to be understood in the same sense as the words in the Gospel of John 1,1, which proclaim to us that the Son (the Word) was with God. What goes back to the Greek "pros", which can be both "to" and "at". By choosing these words to describe the relationship between Father and Son, the Holy Spirit refers to their intimate relationship with each other. In a Bible translation, the verses are given as follows: "In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God, and in all things it was like God ... "[2]

Unfortunately, only too many people imagine God as somewhere in heaven as a single entity watching us from afar. The seemingly insignificant words "to me" and "to" reflect a completely different facet of the divine nature. It is about participation and intimacy. It's about a face to face relationship. That is deep and heartfelt. But what does that have to do with you and me today? Let me briefly review the temple before answering this question.

When Jesus died, the curtain tore in half in the middle of the temple. This rift symbolizes a new approach to the presence of God that opened with it. The temple was no longer his homestead. A completely new relationship with God was now open to each individual. In the translation of the Good News Bible we read in verse 2: "There are many dwellings in my father's house." There was only room for one person in the Holy of Holies, but now there had been a radical change. God had indeed made room for all people in his house! This had become possible because the Son had become flesh, redeeming us from the death and destructive power of sin, returning to the Father and bringing all humanity into the presence of God (Joh 12,32). That same evening, Jesus said, "He who loves me shall keep my word; and my father will love him, and we will come to him and dwell with him "(Jn 14,23). As in verse 2, here too there is talk of "apartments". Do you realize what that means?

What ideas do you associate with a good home? Maybe: peace, tranquility, joy, protection, instruction, forgiveness, provision, unconditional love, acceptance and hope, to name just a few. However, not only did Jesus come to earth to take the atoning death for us, but also to share in all of the good home related ideas and to experience the life he and his father had with the Father Holy Spirit leads.

The unbelievable, unique, and intimate relationship that Jesus Himself communicated with His Father is now also open to us, "that ye may be where I am," verse 3 says. And where is Jesus? "With the Father in close fellowship" (Joh 1,18, Good News Bible) or, as some translations say, "in the Father's womb". A scientist puts it this way: "To rest in the lap of someone means to be in his arms, to be valued by him as the goal of the most loving care and affection, or, as the saying goes, to be his bosom friend." [ 3] And there is Jesus. And where are we present? We participate in the Kingdom of Heaven of Jesus (Eph 2,6)!

Are you currently in a difficult, daunting, depressing situation? Rest assured: Jesus' words of comfort are addressed to you. Just as he once wanted to strengthen, encourage and strengthen his disciples, so he does the same with them: "Do not worry! Trust me! "Do not let your worries press you down, but rely on Jesus and think about what he says - and what he leaves unsaid - after! He does not say they have to be brave and everything will turn right. He does not guarantee you four steps to happiness and prosperity. He does not promise that he will give you a home in heaven that you can not take until you are dead - and thus it is worth all your suffering. Rather, he makes it clear that he suffered the crucifixion to take on all our sins, to nail them to himself on the cross so that everything that can separate us from God and the life in his house has been eradicated.

But that's not all. They are implicitly involved in the triune life of God so that you can share face to face in the intimate communion with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit - of God's life. He wants you to share in him and everything he stands for. He says, "I created you so you can live in my house."

prayer

Father of all, we bring you, who, when we were still separated from you, came to meet us in your Son and bring us home, our thanks and our praise! In dying and in life he proclaimed your love for us, gave us grace and opened the door to glory. May we who share in Christ's body also lead His risen life; we who drink from his cup fulfill the lives of others; we, who are enlightened by the Holy Spirit, are a light to the world. Save us in the hope that you have promised us, so that we and all our children may be free and the whole earth praises your name - through Christ our Lord. Amen [4]

by Gordon Green


pdfAre you waiting for your heavenly home?

Notes:

[1] NT Wright, Surprised By Hope, p. 150.

[2] Rick Renner, Dressed to Kill, Eng. 445; here cited the Good News Bible.

[3] Edward Robinson, Greek and English Lexicon of the NT, p. 452.

[4] Prayer after the Eucharist according to the Eucharistic liturgy of the Scottish Episcopal Church, quoted from Michael Jinkins, Invitation to Theology, p. 137.