Loving Father, may I have the power to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge (Ephesians 3:18-19).
“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.”
I was a boy when I first heard today’s Scripture read from the King James Bible as Jesus talks about “many mansions”. I heard the word “mansions” and immediately thought of the Wrigley Mansion on a hilltop in nearby Phoenix. It was one of the palatial homes of the chewing gum king William Wrigley Jr. I also remember singing the Gospel song about having a mansion, just over the hilltop, in that bright land where we never grow old.
Little did I know that when King James translators did their work, the word “mansion” meant a dwelling place, an abode, a room where people lived. In time I came to appreciate that Jesus is promising something far more glorious and grand than a palatial home of marble and gold!
The Greek word mone that the King James translated “mansion” simply means a room, lodging place, or abode. It denotes a place where people live. We visit our children and grandchildren in Dallas, but that is not where we live or have our abiding place.
New Testament scholar Robert Gundry says that the word mone in this passage means “not mansions in the sky, but spiritual positions in Christ.” (Robert Gundry, Commentary on the New Testament). Though Jesus’ words include the promise of heaven, He has in mind our living in Him spiritually right now on this earth. Jesus came not only to get us into heaven, but to get heaven into us! Raymond Brown, in his commentary on John’s Gospel, says:
“This special house or household where the Son has a permanent dwelling place suggests a union with the Father reserved for Jesus the Son and for all those who are begotten as God’s children by the Spirit that Jesus gives.” (Raymond Brown, The Gospel According to John XIII – XXI)
It is through Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension to the Father’s right hand, that Jesus prepared for us “many dwelling places”. That means we can actually experience a foretaste of heaven today! This happens through the union Jesus prepared for us with the Father! While we eagerly wait for the full experience of that union with God, we can live our lives today in Christ. Everything that Jesus has is ours. He is our wisdom, our righteousness, and our sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30). The Holy Spirit will help us come alive in Christ!
It is important to know that the Greek noun mone, “dwelling places”, comes from the verb meno that means “to abide, stay, remain”. This is the very word Jesus uses when He later invites: “Abide [meno] in me as I abide [meno] in you” (John 15:4). We get to live our lives in the Son of God! We too can say as the apostle Paul says: “For me living is Christ” (Philippians 1:21a).
Ah, yes, far more wonderful than living in a mansion just over the hilltop! This is abundant life Christ came to give us! This is the life of God!
- What does it mean for me to live in Christ? How will I want to adjust my thinking?
- Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to the reality of life in Christ.
O most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother, may I know Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, and follow Thee more nearly, day by day.
Richard of Chichester (1197-1253)