2 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? 3 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. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. 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.John 14:2-6 ESV
In John’s Gospel, we find Jesus offering words of comfort to his disciples. These words would serve as a reminder to them of Jesus’s mission to prepare a place for them in God’s house. This promise of future rest offered to all disciples is one we do not often take it seriously as we should.
The idea of a house carries with it a particular kind of relationship among those who reside within it. It is often the case that families are the occupants of homes. This particular structure is often viewed as a place of solace and safety. The very notion of being “homesick” reveals how often we associate feelings of belonging to the house that is our home.
While it is not the building itself that provides the feeling that we are describing here, but the people with whom we share that space, the buildings serve as a sort of anchor in our memories and become a sort of “shorthand” for what we mean to describe. It is this relationship between a place and the people who occupy that place that we should consider more often. To forget where we are from is to lose contact with the forces and influences that shaped us in the early years of our lives. Becoming disconnected in this way can rob us of important realities as it relates to our identity.
The promise Jesus made to the disciples is one they would not fully appreciate until after Jesus had returned to the Father. It is difficult to imagine them fully understanding what Jesus was trying to say at that moment. We have evidence of this in Thomas’s question about not knowing the way to where Jesus was going. So Thomas, who was present with Jesus through his earthly ministry had a difficult time understanding what Jesus said. How much more for those of us who are separated from the events by over two millennia?
We can get caught up trying to describe what the many mansions will look like. We can even lose sight of the promise itself by focusing on something Jesus left undisclosed. One of the challenges this passage offers to us is holding on to the promise of Jesus in faithful preparation for our arrival. It would be nice to know more details of what it all meant. It would even make it easier for us to endure the many challenges and obstacles of this life. But it would not change Jesus’s fulfillment one way or the other.
In this season of Lent, I have been reminded over and over to slow down and to be less anxious about what is to come. We do not need to know every detail of the future yet to come. We can rest in the knowledge that God’s goodness will never fail, that Jesus’s faithfulness to accomplish His word will never be hindered, and the Holy Spirit’s power to bring us to that moment can never be challenged.
If we hold on to this hope during this season of Lent I believe we will see with greater clarity the majesty of God’s grace as it was revealed in Jesus’s death on the cross.