Jesus Prepares a Place
In the upper room Jesus’ disciples were confused and worried when He told them He was going away. Where was He going? If they were to join Him, how would they know the way? We now know Jesus was talking about heaven, but it is no less difficult for us to imagine what takes place there.
It is interesting how my personal perspective has changed in regards to what Jesus is doing to prepare a place for me in heaven. As a kid I envisioned heaven as a replica of Beverly Hills resting on white fluffy clouds. I presumed Jesus was busy overseeing the construction of my own private mansion, complete with a huge columned porch, a winding staircase and a swimming pool. Then someone told me the word translated “mansion” in older Bibles was probably closer to a room extension on God’s big house (John 14:2).
But now I wonder if the living space Jesus is preparing is patterned after the wedding shelter built by bridegrooms in His day. If so, then Jesus wasn’t talking about a place as much as He was a relationship, or a presence. The wedding shelter was a temporarily dwelling where a groom and his bride became husband and wife. In the same way, Jesus could be preparing a shelter to symbolize our transition into eternity. This may be why He said, “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” (John 14:3).
If this is the intent of Jesus’ words to His disciples we should hardly feel as though we have been downsized. On the contrary, we have received an upgrade. Instead of rattling around in a mansion by ourselves we are going to be sheltered by the Lord.