The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
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      My wife and I purchased our first house about 35 years ago. We were excited about the prospects of home ownership and had been looking at available houses for quite a while. Some considerations included location, cost, and functionality. Newer homes in up-and-coming neighborhoods were smaller and more expensive than older homes in more-established neighborhoods. In my mind, had we purchased one of these expensive newer homes, we would be forced to furnish the house with milk crates and soap boxes rather than real furniture simply due to cost. In addition, my preference was to stay more centrally located in an area that aligned better with our travel patterns to church, work, and school. Lastly, I desired a yard with full-grown shade trees.     
      We eventually decided on a house that was of the post-WW II variety that not only was located on a quiet street with good access to the interstate, but the house also had a yard containing large post oak trees and was within walking distance of the church we attended. Prior to purchase, I asked my father to give me his thoughts. After a brief visual survey that included observing the obvious foundation settlement issues, he concluded “Well, I don’t think you will lose your shirt on it.”
      The original floor plan had been modified significantly to provide a basement bedroom and bath as well as a large den with a wood-burning fireplace. The den was a glass-enclosed room that offered lots of space for entertaining guests. Upon seeing our “new” house with this large den for the first time, a college friend declared, “This is the ultimate party house!”     
      With each step that he took and with each moment that passed, Jesus moved closer and closer to the cross and the abrupt conclusion to his earthly ministry. He had shared frequent insights into this reality with his disciples through several predictions including his own death (John 12:2ff), Judas’ betrayal (John 13:21ff), and Peter’s denial (John 13:36ff). Following Judas’ departure from the group, Jesus further confirmed his impending death by declaring that he alone could travel the path before him. Yet, through this journey “the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him” (John 13:31-33).

      Recognizing the difficulty his disciples experienced processing this rather upsetting and perplexing information, Jesus sought to comfort these men. He offered words of encouragement by challenging them not to allow their hearts to be distressed or agitated as waves that roll and white-cap in response to the intense and turbulent pressure created by fierce and forceful winds (John 14:1). Likely, Jesus hoped they would recall the manner in which he had earlier calmed the boat-swamping wind and waves (Matt. 8:23-27). He was instructing them, therefore, not to respond to the news of his departure with a lack of faith (Matt. 8:26). Rather, they not only should trust completely in God for deliverance from the present crisis but also trust the One alongside whom they had lived and served.


      Jesus continued his words of comfort by declaring “In my Father’s house are many rooms…” (John 14:2). With these words, Jesus announced the Location of the most valuable and enduring real estate available to anyone. The term “Father’s house” is used by Jesus in reference to the Temple (John 2:16), implied by him in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:25), and presented as the final dwelling place for believers (John 14:2).    
      Jesus likely was pointing to the Temple when using the phrase “my Father’s house” in this passage. The Temple represented both the presence of God and the prominence of God. As such, the Temple also represented both the security found in God’s presence and sufficiency of resting places available just outside the temple proper where travelers, weary from a long pilgrimage to Jerusalem, could find rest. Thus, Jesus’ reference to “In my Father’s house are many rooms” conveyed not only the security that accompanies the immediate presence of the Father through which love and protection are experienced directly and without interruption but also the sufficiency of rooms available to those who have a faith relationship with Jesus. In contrast to the inn where Mary and Joseph had sought a room at the time of Jesus’ birth, “my Father’s house” has an abundance of heavenly dwelling places reserved for those who know Jesus. 



      “In my Father’s house” not only is characterized by the aforementioned security and sufficiency, but this place also is highlighted by the purity and permanency that stems from divine Preparation. Jesus is on his way home to his Father’s house and his purpose for going included making preparations for his disciples. When Jesus told his disciples that “I go to prepare a place for you,” however, he was not simply speaking of putting fresh linens on the bed or stocking the refrigerator for guests who were coming to visit for a few days. No, the preparation about which Jesus spoke was much more involved and lasting. Why? God is a pure and holy God who cannot allow sin into his heaven. Therefore, he convincingly addressed the problem of sin through his own son’s death, burial, and resurrection. To this end, the preparation that Jesus made was Selfless preparation (Philippians 2:5-8). Furthermore, the preparation that Jesus undertook was Sacrificial preparation that was costly (1 John 4:7-10; Hebrews 9:11-10:18).    
      Ultimately, the preparation that Jesus pursued was Salvific preparation (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10; Hebrews 10:14). Jesus had a very specific purpose in mind, namely, to prepare a place for those who by faith accept God’s gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23b; Ephesians 2:8). Wherein the sacrificial system outlined under the old covenant required regular offering of animals, Jesus’ sacrifice was of a permanent nature as “one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God…for by one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:12-14).



      “My Father’s House” is further characterized by Celebration. This celebration begins with the promise “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will return and receive you unto myself that where I am there you may be also” (John 14:3). Being where Jesus is for all eternity while enjoying everlasting life in his presence is cause for celebration! Recalling the words of my college classmate regarding my first house, to occupy a place promised and prepared for me “in my Father’s house” surely will be the ultimate party!     
      Inviting others to join the celebration, Audio Adrenaline sang:


Come and go with me, To my Father’s house;
Come and go with me, To my Father’s house.


It’s a big big house, With lots and lots a room;
A big big table, With lots and lots of food;
A big big yard, Where we can play football;
A big big house, It’s my Father’s house!


Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for preparing a room for me in your house…my heavenly home. Thank you for the promise of your return to guide me to my eternal dwelling place. May the way I live my life each day help lead others to a saving relationship with Jesus and a prepared place in my Father’s house. Amen.



P.S. We spent a lot of time and resources addressing deficiencies and making repairs at our first house during the three years we lived there and the next three years while we rented the home to others. Overall the experience was positive but in hindsight we would have been better off purchasing a smaller, yet newer home in one of those up-and-coming neighborhoods. I now understand the first rule of real estate… “Location, Location, Location.”