HEAVENLY PROMISES – JOHN 14:1–6

After three years of ministry, Jesus is in the final week of His life on earth.  He will be crucified on Friday afternoon.  He will be the Sacrificial Lamb who takes away the sin of the world, killed at the very time the Jews were killing sacrificial lambs on the Passover that Friday.  He is now in the upper room on Thursday night, His last night with His disciples.

They’ve been with Him for the full three years, 24/7.  They love Him and believe in Him, but they are profoundly confused.  Their hopes and ambitions are collapsing as Jesus continues to tell them He is leaving.

Jesus knew that His hour had come, that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having to leave behind these disciples He so dearly loved.

In John 13:33 He said to them, “Little children, I’m with you a little while longer.  You will see Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, ‘Where I’m going you cannot come.  I’m leaving and you can’t come.’”

Down to John 13:36 Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?”  to which Jesus basically replied, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.” In Chapter 14 He essentially says the same thing again several times.

In verse 12 He says, “Truly I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do will he do; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.”  Down in verse 28 toward the end of that verse He says again, “I go to the Father and I’ve told you before it happens, so when it happens you’ll believe,” verse 29.

To add to the confusion, the doubt, the fear, and the anxiety, He had even said that among the twelve there was a traitor who was going to betray Him into the hands of His enemies.  He had told them He would be arrested, beaten, and murdered, and it was all prophesied in the Old Testament. And we also read that in Isaiah 53.  He had even declared at the end of chapter 13 to Peter that he would turn out to betray Him by denying Him three times. On top of it all, now they would be left behind in the middle of hateful enemies.

This is a very difficult time and not how it was supposed to end according to their methodology.  He then offers immense comfort to them; and it runs through all these chapters. That is the gracious, compassionate, merciful, loving heart of God.

The comfort comes, first of all, in chapter 14, verse 1: “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.  And you know the way where I’m going.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going.  How do we know the way?”  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

The six opening verses are the foundation of comfort.  Later on, He will give them “the” Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who will dwell in them.  Those comforts from His promises are increased in power and impact by the indwelling presence of the Comforter.  The theme here then is comfort by trusting in Him. He told them that they should not let their hearts be troubled. He knows everything that is in a heart of a man.

You start there with God all-knowing, all-wise, all-powerful, all-ruling, all-caring, all-sufficient, having all resources, all provision.  “You trust God, you believe in God; you don’t have any trouble with that, so believe also in Me.” John all the way through his gospel makes the case that Jesus is God.  They believe in God whom no one can see God.  God is an invisible spirit. They believe in God and they believe in the revelation of God in the Son of God, and that’s why they said, “You’re the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and, “We know that You’re the Holy One and You have the words of life.” They had been regenerated by God and become believers in the true God. They recognized that Jesus is the one who has come from God.  He is the Holy One from heaven.

But then they have seen Him, and now they need to also believe in Him when He’s gone the same way they believe in the invisible God.  Their faith is tested.

But, although He was about to be removed, He will not be far from them. He says to them later, “never leave you or forsake you.  I will come to you.”

He says, “The Father and I literally will take up residence with you before you take up residence with Us.  I will put my Holy Spirit in you.”  We all live and move in the worship of One we’ve never seen.

Over in chapter 16, verse 7, He says, “I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Comforter will not come to you.  But if I go, I will send Him to you.”  That is the Holy Spirit.

The plea to trust Him is followed by some specific promises.  He would go and prepare a place for us, and He will come again and receive us to Myself, that where He is, there we may also be.

Earlier in the gospel of John, in chapter 2, Jesus went into the temple and overturned the tables.  To those who were selling doves He said, “Take away these things.  Stop making My Father’s house a place of business.”

Here He says in John 14, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places.” Here He certainly did not refer to the temple again as He pronounced doom on the temple in Matthew 24.

It reminds us of what is said in Hebrews 9:23-24, “Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be [a]purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.”

The temple was the Father’s house in the sense that it was a copy of the Father’s house which is heaven.  Christ came and cleansed the Father’s house that had been turned, as Luke says, into a den of robbers.  He cleansed the Father’s house on earth and then He destroyed the copy so that He might gather His people and take them into a place prepared for them that was reality in heaven.

The temple at Jerusalem was called the Father’s house, but it was only a copy.  God had designed it and it was His.  He had laid out the prescription as to its architecture and design, and and it was to symbolize His presence among His people.  There He was to be honored and adored and worshipped by His people.

But that worship had become apostate and corrupted.  He sent His Son to attack it and then He sent the Romans in 70 AD to smash it to bits.  There is even today, no longer any earthly copy.  So when Jesus says, “In My Father’s house,” He is talking about heaven.

In ancient times, fathers had a house and when their children got married, they build additions on the house, for every married son in that family.  So also does the heavenly Father’s house has many dwelling places.

People are often confused with the term “Mansions.” This is a family and we are going to be in the Father’s house, one house with many rooms.

Now, if you’re curious about what it is like in heaven, read Revelation 21.  Just a summary, it is golden diamond city.  In the center of this massive, glorious and transparent golden diamond is God’s glory and the glory of the Lamb blazing through and being refracted into the endless new heaven and new earth.  Around the city are massive jewels that spin out the colors of the rainbow.  The city has twelve gates and each one is a single pearl from which the light bounces and adds to the transcendence.

In verses 2 to 3 Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many [a]mansions; if it were not so, [b]I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

These words are of an eschatological nature as He is talking about His second coming. In Acts 1:11 we also read, “… This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” In the meantime, when any believer dies, absent from the body, he or she immediately enters the presence of the Lord.

He will come again and rapture the church, as clearly described in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15, to gather the church to Himself.  We do not know exactly when it is going to happen but judging by the prophecies coming to pass, we know that this glorious event is near. This is an amazing promise.

Jesus then said to them then in verse 4, “You know the way where I’m going.  You know the way where I’m going.”  Thomas replied, “Lord, we don’t know where You’re going.  How do we know the way?” This is the question that any legitimate religion must answer, and none can except Christianity.  Religion is worthless because it provides no way to heaven.  That is “the” question that only Christianity answers:  “How do I become reconciled to God and go to heaven?”

This takes us to the third point.  First, there was the plea, then there was the promise, now there is the provision.

In John 10 Jesus said, “I am the door.  I am the door to that eternal pasture.  I am the door, there is no other door.  Anybody else is a thief and a robber.  I am the door.  I’ve told you that.”

Thomas had to get this right. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father but through Me.  I am.”

Jesus alone revealed God.  Jesus alone was God’s chosen sacrifice and He alone is the Savior.  Faith in Jesus is the only way of salvation.  That is why there is a Great Commission, to take the Word to every creature in the world because there is no other way to saved.

Jesus is the way to God, the truth about God, and the life of God; and no one can come to the Father or enter the Father’s house, except through Him.

(Source: Bible studies, using John MacArthur’s sermons as guidance)

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