What Kind of Place Is Jesus Preparing for Us?

What Kind of Place Is Jesus Preparing for Us?

Many Christians grow up in the church without ever truly learning all that the Bible has to say about heaven, our final home. Yet Scripture has much to tell us about the kind of place heaven will be. Its pages are filled with visions of life with God that have fueled Christian hopes for thousands of years.

Through God’s Word, we have received more than just the hope of an afterlife to quiet fears of death. From the Fall, to the rise of the nation of Israel, to Christ entering the world, Scripture’s narrative teaches us what heaven – our actual home – is truly meant to be.

In John’s gospel, at the time of the Passover Feast, Jesus was comforting his disciples as he prepared them for his approaching departure, encouraging them that their bond with him ran at a level that no physical separation could end.

“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 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 14:2-3).

What exactly was he talking about? A place with many rooms?

Here are three things we can know about the kind of place heaven will be:

1. Jesus Himself Is Preparing This Place

When Jesus spoke about this “place” to his disciples, he also said that he would be the one to prepare it for them. Here is why this is good news:

Christ knows us unlike anyone else. In John 4, Jesus paused by a well on his way through Samaria. There he talked with a woman who was thirsty for true life from a well that wouldn’t run dry. With compassion and directness, he pointed out the parts of her life that drove her into isolation and shame, that no stranger should rightly know. His knowledge of her became her testimony, and restored her to her place in community. “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (John 4:29).

Not only does Christ know us perfectly (John 2:23), he loves us unlike anyone else. Imagine what it means for someone who knows you and all your faults, who loves you unconditionally and particularly, to be the architect of a place for you to belong.

Jesus was there in the beginning, an active member of the creation process. “In the beginning was the Word…” (John 1:1) He is the inventor of home, and he knows what it means to leave and give up a perfect home. And as the homemaker, he will have his fingerprints on every detail.

2. This Place Has Many Rooms

What exactly did Jesus mean, talking about “many rooms”? The Greek word for “rooms” used in John 14:2 is “monē,” meaning “abode,” or a “dwelling place,” or even a “mansion.” It’s somewhere one abides. This particular word occurs in just one other place in Scripture, and it comes later on in the same chapter. Judas (not Iscariot) asked Jesus how it could be that he would “manifest” himself to them, but not to the world.

“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’” (John 14:23). The same word Jesus used for the many “rooms” in his Father’s house, he also used to describe the home God the Father will make for himself within us.

God intends to fill his eternal house. From the beginning, life on earth was meant to multiply. “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). God’s qualities of generosity and abundance are all over the creation story. He wants the beauty of his world to be enjoyed by as many as possible.

The gospel is an invitation to those far and near to be brought in on the joy of this great homecoming. Much like the parable of the man who threw open his doors to any and all who would come to his banquet after his invited guests made excuses. The banquet was there, ready, waiting! He wasn’t about to let it go to waste.

Just so, God doesn’t intend for the place he is preparing to be left empty. There is room aplenty for the many God is bringing into his family. No one who runs home to God will be left without a place.

3. We Will Be with God in This Place

The story of Scripture is about God moving heaven and earth to be with us — as it was meant to be in the beginning. Before mankind decided to go our own way, scarring the very nature of our relationship with our Creator, God and man walked side by side.

Genesis tells a story of a time and place when creation, God, and humankind were in perfect relationship with one another. Plants and animals flourished, along with the crown of God’s creation: a man and woman whom he set in the garden. There was no cause for shame, or reason to hide. They were perfectly at home in their surroundings, with one another, and in the presence of God.

Sin changed that perfect picture. After deciding to go their own way, Adam and Eve had to leave the garden, exiled from what was safe, life-giving, and familiar. From this point on, their relationship to God, to each other, and to the land they lived in changed, marked by a new kind of strain, suspicion, and frustration.

Their loss was not just of a garden, but the presence of God.

When Jesus entered the picture, he was named Emmanuel. “God with us.” That’s the story. As God explained to King David when he offered to build God a home to dwell in, “with” did not depend on God moving into a physical building. He told David that he’s always been with him and Israel, and he intended to move much nearer.

Finding the Way to This Place

“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 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 14:2-3).

Jesus said these words just after washing his disciples’ feet. It was a powerful and unexpected expression of love and servanthood for his friends and followers. After bidding the disciples to understand what he just did for them, to let his posture of love and servanthood sink in, he commanded them to do the same for one another.

Doing so was a command to follow a path, an example of love and servanthood, a way of blessing that led him to the cross and leads us homeward. Without his commitment to this path, home would never be possible for any of us.

“I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

God is our home, and Jesus himself is the way to return. So cling to him and watch him closely.

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/belchonock

Sarah E Martin is a sister, aunt, daughter, and sometimes a globe trotter. She has a background in English literature, and a devotion to good tea. When she’s not writing or studying, she is attempting to learn the names of her backyard birds, or planning long, unhurried walks in her favorite places. She believes that Jesus is the answer to bringing all our stories together, and is the one who satisfies our ache for home.