SO WHICH IS IT? A WEDDING OR A FUNERAL?
I hope you are doing well today. Let's get back to our work as we continue looking at the Gospel of John. Yesterday, we looked at Jesus washing the disciple's feet and his institution of a new commandment: "Love one another." Today, we will begin looking at Jesus' final teaching discourse. Remember, he has already arrived in Jerusalem for the final time. *John records three journeys of Jesus to Jerusalem as an adult.
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. 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 14:1-3)
If you are familiar with the King James Version of this translation (and most are more familiar with this from the KJV) you will remember that the word used in the KJV is "mansions," instead of "rooms" found here in the NIV. The Greek word is "mone," which sounds like the female name "Mona." The better translation of the word is "rooms." I know, the old gospel hymn "I've Got A Mansion" wouldn't sound the same if we sang, "I've Got A Room." But, it is what it is. What is Jesus saying? He is going away and while he is away he is going to prepare dwellings for his disciples. Now, he is not building them a mansion. No. Notice, he said "in my Father's house." We assume that means heaven. In a way it does, but Jesus is using an analogy that his audience would have been very familiar with. When a man and woman became engaged a wedding date would not be set. Instead, the man would return to his father's house where he would begin the task of building a room, or section onto the father's house. This would be where he and his bride would reside. Once his work was done, his father would say to him; "Son, go get your bride." Then, he would return to his beloved and the wedding procession would begin. He would take her back to their new home.
With that being said, this is a wedding. Ironically, when do we most often hear this passage read? Yes, at funerals. *Some would argue; "Wedding, funeral? Same difference". LOL Of course, Jesus is talking about his death, or what we view as his death. Notice, he doesn't come out and say that he is going to die. In fact, in John's gospel Jesus speaks of his death in an entirely different way. We hear him say such things as: "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified." (John 12:23) Here, Jesus says: "You know the way to the place where I am going." (John 14:4) Jesus is simply going away. Jesus' death in John's gospel is basically his return to the Father.
"Jesus answered: 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him." (John 14:6-7)
These verses present John's gospel in a nutshell. Jesus says that he is in the Father and the Father is in him, so the disciples have already seen the Father. This goes back to the very first verse of the gospel. Later, Jesus says to the disciples: "On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you." (John 14:20) Of course Jesus is speaking of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. *We'll look more at tomorrow. So, the disciples, according to Jesus, will be one with Jesus and God. They will be closely connected in a way that can only be described as an indwelling. Believers will, therefore, be made participants of the inner life of God. Therefore, Jesus says: "It is for your good that I am going away." (John 16:7)
We will pick up here tomorrow. I hope you have a blessed day. -Pastor Rick