Jesus Is Going To Prepare A Place For Us (john 14:1-31)

1459099931 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

(For better viewing click HERE). Jesus assures his disciples that in spite of the fact that his death is approaching, they must maintain faith in him and in God. He makes a promise that he is going to prepare a place for them in God’s house, assuring them that God’s house is large enough to include all of God’s redeemed children. When Jesus returns, he will come back for his own and take them to be with him. Now comes the question: What is God’s house? The only house of God that we are familiar with in the context of the Bible is his Temple, whether in the form of the tabernacle or in its later elaborate structures of stone. Since we know that after his death Jesus went to be with his Father, we must conclude that the heavenly tabernacle is probably in view in this passage.

In the book of Revelation, we read about the final restoration and recreation of the earth – the new heavens and the new earth. The heavens will come down to the earth to form one entity. At this point there will not be a Temple in the city of Jerusalem. This is how John wrote about it:

“22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.” (Rev.21:22)

Coming back to Jesus’ words to his disciples, in light the book of Revelation, we can understand that as Jesus told them that he must die, he was indicating that this would result in a process of recreation. Once he dies, he would begin to prepare a place of eternal joyful, peaceful, and righteous dwelling for his disciples. When he is resurrected and returns, he will take them there.

And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

It is likely that Thomas thought Jesus was referring to a secret hiding place where he may now withdraw to escape arrest. Jesus however spoke of something completely different.

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

The Gospel keeps driving the same point home again and again. To see Jesus is to see God. To accept him is to accept God. To serve him is to serve God.

12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

The name of Jesus is much more than the verbal or written form (Jesus vs. Yeshua, etc, Lord vs. YHWH vs. HaShem). The name of Jesus is a powerful symbol of the combined reality of all of that Jesus is; what he says and what he does. To ask something in the name of Jesus is to ask because of who he is, of what he says and of what he does. This is indeed the power of his Name and we must seek no other.

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

Once again Jesus states a series of very important points that prepare his apostles to continue his service in His place. Since in this Jewish-Samaritan journey through the Gospel of John I only highlight the things that other commentaries, either  devotional or scholarly, don’t talk about I will dedicate much time to this very important and already well treated section.

22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words.

Among literary theories of Gospel composition there is an important theory called the Q, meaning quelle (source) in German. Basically it claims that at some point before the Gospels were composed, there was another document of Jesus’ sayings that did not survive nor is it mentioned anywhere. The assumption is that the Gospels were composed from this hypothetical document (scholars call it “the Q”). The majority of liberal scholars accept this theory, while the majority of conservative scholars do not.

While I am not particularly interested in this theory, I must admit that in this chapter the Gospel sharply changes the way of its presentation. A series of terse statements by Jesus are presented one after another in a way that betrays (or at least feels like) an almost direct copying from another place where the statements may have been kept together. These statements do not appear to have been spoken by Jesus at the same time.

I do not argue in any way that these sayings are not authentic, but instead that they may have been said in other contexts or at least partially in another context.

An illustration of this can be seen in Mel Gibson’s movie Passion of the Christ. When Jesus had already been tortured and mutilated by the Roman soldiers, he is carrying the cross. He stops and kneels on one knee and tells his mother who ran towards him: “Behold, I make all things new!” Was Jesus making all things new when he was carrying the cross? Yes! It was part of his suffering on behalf of sinners. However, if we look for this saying within the passion narrative of any Gospel, we will be hard pressed to find it. Why? Because it is not there where Jesus said it in the film! We find this saying of Jesus in the Book of Revelation in John’s vision of him in heaven. What has happened? In his creative imagination, Mel Gibson places Jesus’ later words in his mouth when he is on the way to his death on the cross. I think that if (and for me this is still a big IF) there was ever such a document that we now call “the Q,” the dynamic at play would have been similar to the one I just described.

And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. 25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.

Whether or not Jesus’ words were taken by John the Evangelist from an earlier Q document at the time of composition of the Gospel itself is irrelevant. What is important is that the Gospel in its final form completes Jesus’ last training of the twelve with powerful words of exhortation to rise up and leave. This was probably because he did not want his arrest to take place where he was at the time. He had planned in advance what he was going to do.

Copyrights Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

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  1. Kat Hobaugh

    ginette, interesting that you hinted at sin before you die. (I am agreeing with Dr. Eli’s comment on the Father’s love by the way). In my opinion, Peter experienced the “right before you die” (so to speak). This is why he denied Jesus 3 times. He was afraid. (We now have words like traumatic stress for facing death.) Peter was a soldier and he failed to do his job. I think it is possible that Peter might have considered this “sinning before you die”. I have read that just a few wars back soldiers were shot for failing to do their jobs. Some were considered cowards, because of their reactions (fight, flight, or freeze responses). Yes my comment is speculation and may be historically incorrect but quite possibly and understandably human nature. Now consider Jesus’ how Jesus used Peter!

  2. Kat Hobaugh

    alfredo, yes our faith should not be blind. The words taste and see that the Lord is good actually strengthen our trust as we apply God’s word to our lives.

  3. ginette kelley

    hi Kat
    you are certainly at a crossroads, No Jesus/God will not leave you when you die unless you’ve done something really terrible in your lifetime and i doubt even that is true.
    Your faith in Him will stay with you as you cross over, the Holy Spirit does make His home with us, He is the communicator of both the Father and the Son, the one who answers our questions as our faith deepens as does our trust in Him.
    I know that my God is a living God as He has proven it to me over and over again through out my life, He will always walk beside me even if I should doubt Him and i hope to be in His presence one of these days, in the meantime i study and listen to what He wants me to do.
    “Be still and know that I Am God”, is one of my favourite verses from the Psalms
    at the expression New Jerusalem is all tied in with the Revelation accounts of a New Heavens and New Earth, i’m sure Dr Eli could explain it better as a research professor.My own feeling are that when God decides to reunite Heaven and earth into one realm and co-habit with us quite literally, He will choose the time and when it will happen , even Jesus said He did not know nor do the Angels, only the Father knows when it will happen.
    one clue in my mind is as it says when every knee is bended to Him (the Son) so as we are far from that inevitability its not around the corner, and first we have to only worship the one true God of Israel and no other, some so called christian religions believe that any male member of their LDS morman church can become God where ever they got this idea from i haven’t a clue but know its what they preach and teach but it certainly is against Gods law, so i wonder where these poor misguided people will end up, but its not only Christian religions but all the other religions around the world who do not worship the Triune God (Father son and holy spirit)
    So Kat know that He loves you and will always be with you even unto death.
    Blessings
    ginette

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      As an earthly father I love all my kids EVEN IF they will do something terrible, I am sure that heavenly father’s heart and love must be equal or greater (not lesser) than mine. Dr. Eli

  4. alfredo

    Hi Kat. Scriptures are somehow like a huge puzzle that needs to be solved. All the things that our Father wants us to know all scattered all over the Bible pages. But, the main theme is always there and it revolves again and again. The most important message is that God wants you to have faith in Him. But the faith He wants us to have is not a blind type of faith that some churches wants you to have when they teach you something and you have to blindly believe what they say to you. God wants you to find out for yourself Who He is and trust Him in every situation, even when you are just trying to know Him, you should still trust that Him wants that you will really do know Him. He will never leave you, no matter what. He is like a very very very faithful husband. I used three times the word very, just as He is Holy Holy Holy.

  5. Kat Hobaugh

    Hi ginette and alfredo, its so good to hear from both of you again. Hum… Please understand that there are many, many obstacles I have to climb to learn small things, but I have chosen to learn. I am thankful for even a little glimpse of Christ. I am most thankful in Dr. Eli’s study group to have finally seen in scripture that God didn’t leave me helpless and alone before I heard the gospel. (I am typically lost in translation.) Yes some of my misbeliefs were from the church, but some were because of my own obstacles. I climb up the learning ladder slowly, one step at a time. HOWEVER, God’s grace is sufficient and amazing. My wish for both of you is that you hit the studies running. 
    Back to John 14, the scripture says that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit make their home in us. Will they leave me that I need to go to them when I die?
    Another question, what is the difference between the new Jerusalem and “a new heaven and a new earth?
    I love thinking!

  6. alfredo

    Hi Kat. I think that sometimes we have a preconceived idea of things when reading the Scriptures, and then, a couple of passages don’t match up with that idea. These preconceived ideas normally come from teachings that we received earlier in our life at church, school, friends or at home.

    When I have come to the kind of situation that you are mentioning, I have had to stop, clear my mind and find out what God says about that specific issue, trying to read and understand everything “outside my preconceived box”.

    In your case, you might consider finding out what the Bible (both Old and New Testaments) says about marriage (since Yeshua is here in John 14 using that symbolism), about the millennium when He will return to earth to rule (how things are suppose to be), and after the millennium when the New Jerusalem appears (Revelations).

  7. ginette kelley

    Hi Kat,
    these were two different occasions in John , the first is in the Gospel the second is in Revelation.
    I would suggest you read Surprised by hope by Dr N.T Wright it is about where we go after we die, not the mussy stuff many people including Christians have made up for themselves over the centuries.
    When Jesus said He was going to prepare a place for His disciples, it was tied into an earlier statement that they were given to Him by the Father
    The second statement is in Revelation 21-22, where John in his vision saw Heaven come down to earth and Join with earth as the final place way in the future, Revelation is full of apocalyptic statements which have to be interpreted as by a first century Jew, for instance it mentions there will be no more Sea, which it doesn’t literally mean there will be no more Sea but that as the Sea brought conquerors to the middle east it would cease to do so.Revelation is confusing enough as it is, (to be quite honest i have been known to state john wrote it whilst on whatever was the drug of choice in his time lol)
    As for the temple it states that there is no temple because God the Father and the Son(lamb ) are its temple. However one must realize for this to come about we are in all likelihood to be dead as we will no longer be as we are and there will be no more children or as far as i can see anything else, and few of us are likely to get to this new earth, this goes back to the Torah as God always said He would live (tabernacle) with His chosen people (the Jews) until they disobeyed Him that he left the earth and returned to Heaven.
    Heaven and Hell exist in separate dimensions occupying the same space as earth as far as i can interpret it,its not up in space somewhere, and Heaven exists outside of time which is why they say 2days is equal to 2 thousand of ours in time which we live, hence when Jesus said I am coming soon many mistake when that will be as He was talking outside of time, hope this helps a bit
    ginette

  8. Teresita Garcia

    Thank you for the comments on the passages in the bible. These help me understand the
    passages better. – T. Garcia

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      You are most welcome!

  9. Kat Hobaugh

    The Q I am struggling with is uniting the following two passages: 1. “ I will go and prepare a place for you” 2. “and we will come to them and make our home with them”
    When Jesus says, “I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also”, is it a reference to the Holy Spirit being sent rather than the 2nd coming? (“The heavens will come down to the earth to form one entity. At this point there will not be a Temple in the city of Jerusalem. This is how John wrote about it:”)

  10. ramon

    SHALOM
    IN GREEK THE WORD ” PARAKLETES” DOESN”T MEAN HELPER OR CONFORTER
    BUT
    “THE PLEADING ONE”

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      It is interesting that in the Modern Hebrew when we speak of defense in the court we speak of PRAKLITUT. (It comes from the Greek PARAKLETES). Thanks for your comment, Ramon. Dr. Eli