In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. ~ John 14:2-3 (NIV)
Imagine that you are planning on going camping with some friends, when they call a couple of days before the trip and say, “Hey, we got off work a day early, so we will go and get a couple of good sites. If you want to bring your tent by, we will set it up for you, start a fire, and have dinner waiting for you when you get there.” They would never do such a thing if they didn’t think you were coming to join them.
When Jesus promised that he was going to prepare a place for his disciples, he knew what lay ahead of them. He knew their faith would be severely tested, because soon he would be taken from them. Judas would leave only to come back with a detachment of soldiers to arrest him in the garden. Then Jesus would be detained and put on trial where he was mocked, spit upon, and beaten. After being crucified and buried, it would seem like Jesus had left them forever. But then, after three days he rose from the dead and appeared to them on many occasions. He was back! Until…forty days later he visibly ascended into heaven.
Sometimes we feel so alone, don’t we? Sure, we might have friends and family all around, but what about Jesus? He doesn’t always seem so close as we struggle to understand all the hate and violence in the world around us. He doesn’t always seem so near when we find ourselves falling into the same temptations that so easily lead us astray. Where has he gone?
He has gone to prepare a place for those who repent and trust in him. And this isn’t just some wishy-washy-pie-in-the-sky promise. Jesus is doing something for you right now. He left his disciples the first time to give himself as the once and for all sacrifice for sin. Now he has left to prepare a place for you in heaven. Why would he ever do such a thing, if he didn’t think that you were coming to join him?
Dear Jesus, when we feel all alone, help us to listen to your promises and be assured that one day we will go to be with you in the place you have prepared for us. Amen.