In John 14:2-6, Jesus said that in His Father’s house, there were many mansions, and He was going to prepare a place for us. This unfortunate translation has left many people thinking that we are going to get a mansion in heaven, to live in for all eternity.
Hmmmmm...... Let’s ponder that together.
In securing our redemption, God became man. That is mind boggling! Then, as man, He died for our sin. Incomprehensible love!
Then, He rose from the dead and conquered the grave! Absolutely stunning!
Was all that accomplished for us, so that we can have a mansion in heaven? Is that what the cross and resurrection were all about? Living out our days here on planet earth, in faith, in the hopes that we are going to get a huge house to live in when we get to heaven? No, my friends, the “dwelling places” Jesus went to prepare for us is so much more wonderful and mind boggling than that.
Let's not trivialize the heart and purpose of the Bible in such a way! When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians, he said there was "one thing" for which he pressed on in order to possess more fully – but it was NOT to get a big mansion! His "ONE THING" was to KNOW CHRIST, which is in perfect harmony with what Jesus really said in John 14.
The key to understanding what Jesus said in John 14 is to read it in light of John 13. CONTEXT!!!
In John 13, Jesus has told the disciples that He is going to go away, and they cannot go with Him. They are saddened to hear this news. They have been with God, and now God is going away. We would be saddened as well.
But then He tells them to not be troubled, because He is going to prepare a place for them, that in His Father's house are many "mansions" (John 14). When that place is prepared, He says that He will return for them again, and receive them unto Himself. So that, where He is, they will be also. The obvious heart behind this passage is intimate relationship, not a construction project.
What troubled them was being separated from Him. Once you have tasted God, you want all of God, and cannot stand the thought of separation from God. This is at the heart of what Jesus promised them and us, that He will be with us and we will be with Him.
Now, let’s focus on the word "mansions" – the Greek word is “meno” which translates as “dwelling places” or as I would translate it "abidings.” Jesus is going to prepare “dwelling places” or "abidings" - so that we can live together in intimate union with Him. and then He adds the wonderful words, that as soon as He prepares that place, He will return, and we will be received unto Him. This is glory!
The problem is that many people understand His returning to us as a reference to His second coming, but that is not in harmony with the context of the passage. We must remember that the context here, is John chapters 13-17. This large section of Scripture records one long conversation Jesus had with the disciples on that final night before He would be crucified.
In context, He was leaving. They were sad. He told them to not be sad because He was going to prepare “dwelling places” for them and then He would return to them. That return in context, was “another” Comforter, the Holy Spirit, Who would live “in them” (John 14:16, 25-29). Then, John 15, they would be “in the Vine” (Jesus), and His Vine-Life would be in them. Jesus ends this long conversation with His “high priestly prayer” in John 17, that finishing His work, we would be in Him, and He in us, and we would be in the Father and the Father would be in us. WOW!
May I suggest that this has nothing to do with mansions in the sky? In the context, it has everything to do with God wanting and establishing an intimate relationship with us. We are the “dwelling places” that Jesus went to prepare. Please stay with me here...
Rom 6 tells us that through He took us to the cross with Him. There on the cross, our old man, our old sinful self, died and was buried with Him. Then, when He rose, we rose in Him, as His brand-new creations (II Cor 5:17). Having now been "prepared" - having been made “right dwelling places” - He the RIGHT ONE could now live in us, through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
In His finished work, Jesus "prepared us" as the place of His own residence, so that we could be in intimate union with Him and experience Him forever.... starting right now and continuing in union with Him when we leave this earth to be face to face with Him for all eternity.
This is the "ONE THING" --- that the Apostle Paul pursued - to know Christ! The Greek word for "know" there is “ginosko” = which means to know by experience. It is a word of intimate relationship. This is the glory that the Apostle Paul never got over – Christ in us – the living God of the universe actually taking up residence within us so that we could know Him by experience. And all of this intimate, glorious, relationship with God made possible because Jesus prepared us to be the dwelling places of God.
May we, like Paul, never get over the glory that we are the dwelling place of God. WOW!
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