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More than Heaven

A Commentary by Constance Vanides

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 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.” (John 14:2, 3)

We need to be careful when reading scripture that the only understanding of a familiar passage such as this one is from oft-repeated sermons and commentaries from people who have read or heard the same commentaries from someone else!

This scripture is often read at funerals. We are comforted to know a heavenly room awaits us in God’s Heavenly House upon our death. This may certainly be true, but in contemplating verses 2 and 3 within the context of the whole chapter, we find Jesus emphasizing something different.

Jesus was preparing His disciples for His soon-coming death and resurrection. He knew the disciples would be lost without Him, their Friend. They had followed Jesus and had come to love and depend on Him. Jesus’ words were to assure them they would not be left orphans, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you." (John 14:16, 17)

We know from other scriptures that Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit. Back to verse 2, the “many mansions” that are in “My Father’s house”. “…We will come to him and make Our home with him.” (John 14:23) God promises to live in us!

Reading on, we see the marvelous image of Jesus abiding in us, as we abide in Him! We are not dead yet! We are residing in the Living Word, growing in the Spirit, taking on the characteristics of Jesus Himself, as He develops the fruit of the Spirit in us so we can be useful for His kingdom!

So, where is the Father’s house? I repeat the words of Jesus Himself. “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” (John 14:23)

The Father’s House? Again, it’s where the Father, Son and Holy Spirit live in us! “…in whom you also are being built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:22) “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)

Paul the Apostle exhorts us: “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20)

With whom do you share your spiritual home?

“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing—you’re at least decent to your own children. And don’t you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?” (Luke 11:11-13 The Message Bible)

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© Constance Vanides