May 10, 2020
Pastor John Hering
“Do not let your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that you may also be where I am. 4 You know where I am going, and you know the way.”
5 “Lord, we don’t know where you are going,” Thomas replied, “so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except through me. 7 If you know me, you would also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
8 “Lord,” said Philip, “show us the Father, and that is enough for us.”
9 “Have I been with you so long,” Jesus answered, “and you still do not know me, Philip? The one who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I am telling you I am not speaking on my own, but the Father who remains in me is doing his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me. Or else believe because of the works themselves.
12 “Amen, Amen, I tell you: The one who believes in me will do the works that I am doing. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.John 14:1-12
Life changes. When I was growing up we had a phone on the wall that had a dial in order to call a phone number. Then came the phone with a base station and portable receivers. Then came the phone with a little antenna. And now 45% of people in the world own a smartphone and 81% of Americans own one. Things have certainly changed. Phones, TVs, cars and how about Bible translations! If you are over 50 years old you went to Sunday School and Confirmation class and learned from the King James Bible. Then came the New International Version, and most recently we have been introduced to the Evangelical Heritage Version. As with so many other changes it is sometimes hard to accept the change. For instance one of the passages in today’s Word of God. I grew up learning, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” Then when the NIV came out is said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms.” My immediate thought was, “I want a mansion in heaven, not a room!” The “mansions of heaven” has been a phrase Christians have used for a long time. What does your mansion look like in your mind? All white and gleaming with light beaming through crystal windows—the perfect place to spend eternity with Jesus. It just seems a lot better to live in a heavenly mansion rather than a heavenly room.
So, what is Jesus promising in John 14? A mansion or a room? It’s a good question and you’re going to learn the answer to that question today. Dear friends, we are in the Easter season. That Jesus died and rose again changes us and changes the way we think about life down here. But, here’s the question. How does Jesus’ resurrection change the way you think about Jesus up there? Taking a line from a famous Easter hymn, “I know that My Redeemer Lives,” we will investigate the question and learn that
He Lives My Mansion To Prepare!
Unlike our Earthly Home
We love to hear the beautiful words from John 14. However, the night Jesus spoke these words was not a beautiful night. Within a few hours from when Jesus spoke these words on Thursday, Jesus would be crucified and dead on Friday. Yes, Jesus knew the rest of the story, but his followers didn’t know it yet. So, when Jesus told them he was going to leave them and that they would not be able to follow him, they were all upset. That’s when Jesus spoke these words, “Do not let your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that you may also be where I am.” So, are they rooms or are they mansions? The word Jesus used is “monai.” The Latin Vulgate translated monai as “mansiones,” and the KJV followed suit (“In my Father’s house are many mansions”). The word is translated mansions, rooms and even “homes.” The point isn’t that the space will be lavish, but that there will be room for all. The word, “homes” (monai) also has to do with relationships. The Greek monai is the noun form of the verb meno, usually translated “abide.” Jesus uses meno to describe close relationships: John’s gospel gives us many examples: “You don’t have his word living (meno) in you; because you don’t believe him whom he sent” (5:38). “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives (meno) in me, and I in him” (6:56). “Remain (meno) in me, and I in you. As the branch can’t bear fruit by itself, unless it remains (meno) in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain (meno) in me” (15:4). You can see Jesus is talking about a place that lasts and is always secure. When you hear Jesus says “In my Father’s house are many mansions” think of Grandma’s house or home sweet home. When the disciples heard Jesus use this word they couldn’t imagine life without Jesus. Jesus knew what their life was soon going to become—miles they would travel, threats they would face, enemies at the front door as they snuck out the back, no place to call “home.” Jesus was preparing them for their future. When they were out in the world being Jesus’ witnesses without a roof over their heads he wanted them to remember his promise: “In my Father’s house are many mansions.”
I’ve lived in my house now for about 20 years. I like our home. It’s a beautiful place for me to live, to have the family return to visit, to entertain friends, and it’s a wonderful place to live. But, the day is coming when we’ll move out of that house and I know right now it will be a sad day for us. That is until I remember that our homes on this earth are not always a happy place to live. Homes explode with anger and criticism. Homes burn down or are lost to financial ruin. Some home are the place of tragedy or even a room where someone died. Homes harbor sinful thoughts, words and actions that we’d rather forget. Here’s the problem—my home and your home are in a bad location—they are an earthly home infested and contaminated with sin.
It wasn’t the way God wanted it to be. God created the perfect home for Adam and Eve. But the fall into sin caused them to be homeless and on the streets. No one since has been able to live in a perfect home since. So, where do you think Jesus is going when he said, “I am going to prepare a place for you.” He was going to the cross. Jesus went to the cross to pay the mortgage for your mansion. Jesus went to the cross to pay God the Father what we owed to live in our heavenly mansion. Jesus died and the deed was done. Then Jesus rose from the dead and he handed the deed to you. He gave you the rights to the “meno” the room, the mansion, and the relationship with God. This place is unlike our earthly home. No, this place will never need repairs, never be sold, never be sad, always secure, safe, and be home sweet home forever! He died and now Lives My Mansion To Prepare unlike our earthly home, but
To Like Our Heavenly Home
Well, this was all too much for Thomas. You’re right, this is the Thomas that had a tendency to doubt stuff anyway. “5 “Lord, we don’t know where you are going,” Thomas replied, “so how can we know the way?” If I had been Jesus I would have rolled my eyes and give a huff! How long will it take for you to understand? But Jesus answered, “6 “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except through me. 7 If you know me, you would also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Phillip liked Thomas’ question and added his comments, “8 “Lord,” said Philip, “show us the Father, and that is enough for us.” Oh, the patience of Jesus! “9 “Have I been with you so long,” Jesus answered, “and you still do not know me, Philip? The one who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” Perhaps you can relate to Jesus when you’ve tried to show someone how to do something over and over again….and they just don’t get it. (Mother’s Day – kids can’t put their dirty clothes in the basket, guys can’t leave the toilet seat down). Your patience might run thin. You wonder how anyone could be so slow?
But, there was no explosion in the Upper Room that night. There were no harsh words, no patience running thin. Jesus did nothing more than to share the mysteries of God so the disciples could learn to like their heavenly home even more. Let’s ponder Jesus’ words with the disciples, “10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I am telling you I am not speaking on my own, but the Father who remains in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me. Or else believe because of the works themselves.” Go ahead, marvel at the mystery of the Trinity. The Father is God. Jesus is God. The Holy Spirit is God. Not three Gods, but one God. The Words Jesus speaks are God’s Words. The works Jesus does are God’s works. Ponder, marvel, believe and “like” the (meno) of your heavenly home!
Dear Christian friends, the disciples were in a fog. They did not have the holy Scriptures you have so that you can absorb Jesus’ words and like even more the heavenly relationship you have with God. You know Jesus is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation” (Col 1:15). They did not yet grasp that “in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and unseen,” (16). When they looked at Jesus they could not yet wrap their brains around the fact that “17 He is before all things, and all things hold together in him.” On this Thursday night they didn’t have a clue that “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile all things to himself (whether things on earth or in heaven) by making peace through the blood of his cross.” They didn’t believe it on Thursday, or Friday or Easter morning, until Jesus walked through locked doors and said: “Peace be with you” (Luke 24:36). Then they believed and enjoyed the (meno) rooms, mansions, relationship with God that would last forever. They believed Jesus Lives My Mansion To Prepare Unlike our Earthly Home, to Like Our Heavenly Home!
There are plenty of changes going on in our lives right now to distract us. Maybe it’s the renovation or relocation of our home. Maybe it’s accumulating enough wealth for retirement. We want our children to prepare themselves to live a world of computers, sports, music, college, family, and job. But, above it all we want them to love Jesus so we can all be together in heaven. This changes the way with think about life and about death. Only a living Savior can promise a (meno) mansion unlike our earthly homes, and to like our heavenly home. Yes, Jesus lives my Mansion to Prepare! But, there’s more! He lives to bring me safely there. Amen!