Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.
Peter’s earlier question, “Lord, where are you going?” (John 13:36) is now answered by Jesus. He assures His disciples that He will not forget them in His going away. He will prepare a place for them alongside Him in His Father’s house.
I was raised on the King James Bible which translated a key phrase of today’s text as, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” The word translated as “mansions” actually denotes “rooms”, or “dwelling places”. Jesus draws from the imagery of His culture in which adult sons and daughters had apartments or dwelling places under the same roof as their father. A bridegroom would go to his bride’s house and bring her to his father’s, where a dwelling place would have been prepared for them.
By assuring His disciples of “many dwelling places”, Jesus promises a prepared place for them with the Father. Through Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, He will prepare room for them and many, many more in His Father’s house (John 17:20). Jesus will unite us to Himself, and in Him draw us close to the Father’s heart.
Though the promise of heaven is certainly included in Jesus’ words, He is talking about our spiritual dwelling in Him right now, on earth. Jesus came not only to get us into heaven, but to get heaven into us. We can experience the very life of God as Jesus draws us close to the Father’s heart. Here is an intimate closeness with the Father, of a kind previously known only by Jesus: “so that where I am, there you may be also”.
Know the certainty of the new quality of life Jesus promises: “If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” Each time you pray, you have this place close to the Father’s heart. Each time you are afraid, you have this place close to the Father’s heart. Each time you stumble and fall, you have this place close to the Father’s heart. You are as close to the Father’s heart as Jesus.
What are there in Jesus’ words today to know; to feel; to do?