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“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:1–3).

IT IS EXTREMELY ENCOURAGING FOR US TO READ OF THE DEPTH OF JESUS’ CONCERN FOR HIS DISCIPLES. As He came down to the bitter end of His life, even on the night before He knew He would be crucified the next day, His concern was for them — to comfort them, reassure them, and establish hope in their hearts. In the Gospel of John, we hear Him saying, “You have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22). And, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (16:33).

So in our text in John 14:1, we find the familiar words, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” But what idea did He want them to be encouraged by? He wanted them to keep in mind that, although He would be leaving, He would come back and take them to His eternal abode. “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (v.3).

This is the hope that lies at the heart of the gospel of Christ. Having responded obediently to the gospel and been reconciled to God, we can anticipate the time when our Lord will return for us. And when He does, He will take us to be with Him forevermore.

Whatever imagery may be used to portray eternity with God, this should be the aspect of it that moves us most deeply: we will be with God. Having lived all our lives in this broken world, frustrated by our inability to have direct, face-to-face access to our Father, imagine what it will be like to actually be with Him!

To be with God where He is, of course, will require the removal of the imperfections that remain within us at present: the sinful attitudes, ungodly habits, and broken relationships. We will need to be, as one of my favorite songs says, “mended and whole.” But therein will lie the joy of heaven. Our relationship with God, our Heavenly Father, will have been perfected — and sin will no longer interfere with the exchange of love between us and Him!

“Where imperfection ceaseth, heaven begins” (Philip James Bailey).

Gary Henry — +

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