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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE PLACE PREPARED

John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

After the observance of the Passover meal with His apostles, the betrayal by Judas Iscariot, and the institution of "The Lord's Supper," Jesus now turns to comforting them and instilling final New Covenant teachings into them before His departure from them by crucifixion on the cross of Calvary. These last few hours spent with His apostles are recorded only in the gospel according to John, chapters 14-17.

The first of these teachings is found in the lesson text. With the actual betrayal of Him by Judas Iscariot, His mock trial, the denial and departure of Peter and His other apostles, His scourging, and finally His crucifixion, lay in full view before Him, Jesus, instead of grieving for Himself, consoles His apostles by telling them, Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. Without knowing these events that were only hours away, His apostles had not sought comfort, but Jesus, knowing that grief would soon overtake them, desired to ease their minds with these words. It is evident from previous scriptures, that Jesus' apostles did not comprehend the full meaning of His death, nor did they know, or accept, the reason for His departure from them. Rather, they were stumbling in their faith; their belief in Jesus' teaching seemed to be falling on deaf ears. Indeed, their hearts were troubled. Here, Jesus was not condemning them for their lack of knowledge, but He desired that they have providential faith in, both God and Himself, that all things were taking place as planned in the mind of God before the beginning of time.

Just as they were bidden by Christ on this occasion, so all Christians are to follow their example - we are to acquire and maintain this same unwavering faith Jesus desired of His apostles. Even though there are many things about our earthly sojourn and the future life hereafter that we cannot comprehend, yet we are still required to have sufficient faith and trust in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, to continue our life on earth obedient to His will and with the hope of eternal life in heaven. The darkest hours that we face in life can only be successfully endured by walking in believing faith and not by sight.

The most comforting thing Jesus could possibly tell His apostles about His death and departure from them is found in the next two verses of the lesson text. In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. Practically all bible scholars agree that "My Father's house" refers to heaven, not as some eerie, mysterious land, but as a place of comfort and rest. It is a dwelling place in the presence of God. We should never fear; there will be room in heaven for all that seek and find it according to the will of God, and His will is found in His New Covenant doctrine, the New Testament. Jesus assures us that in heaven there will be many mansions in which God's faithful children can abide forever. If this were not true, He would have told us in this passage that was recorded by the inspired apostle, John. It was necessary for Jesus to die on the cross of Calvary as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world. When Jesus said, I go to prepare a place for you, He did not mean that He ascended back into heaven to construct homes for us with wood, nails, and other building materials. He meant that it was by His death He prepared the "way" for mankind to enter heaven. There is no place prepared in heaven for sinners, and only the sacrificial blood of Jesus is able to reconcile sinful men and women of this world to the sinless, righteous God of heaven. The place of eternal rest is waiting, and Jesus provided the way. The door into heaven can only be found by sin-forgiven, reconciled children of God. And remission of sins can only be found by baptism into the body of Christ (See Acts 2:38-47).

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. Although speaking to His apostles at this time, by inference, this promise applies to all obedient followers of Christ that have renounced the ways of the world and received the remission of sins by baptism into His body. Here, Jesus is not referring to His resurrection from death, but to His return from heaven - the second coming of our Lord. Although it was necessary for Jesus to suffer death, burial, resurrection, and depart this world by ascending back into heaven, He assures all His faithful followers that He will return and gather them into the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world (Matt. 25:34).