John 14:1-4

[Jesus said:] “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that 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. You know the way to the place where I am going."

We can find some of the most comforting words Jesus has ever spoken to his apostles in this passage today. They are very disturbed. They are fully convinced Jesus is the Messiah, but instead of being the conquering superhero they had expected the Messiah to be, defeating the enemies of Israel, he had just told them that he was going to be put to death by them. To make matters worse, he was going to be betrayed by one of them!

As if that weren’t bad enough, there was a good chance they would meet the same fate! While they awaited that, there were other practical aspects to consider. How were they to survive? They had left everything to follow Jesus! So far, the donations had come plentifully thanks to all the miracles Jesus was working, but that would almost certainly dry up once he was gone. What were they going to do? Little wonder they were so troubled.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled,” Jesus says to them. Like the psalmist, he tells them to put their faith in him. Though they might walk through the valley of the shadow of death, they need fear no evil, for he is with them; his Shepherd’s rod and staff would comfort them (see Psalm 23:4). This advice to them is also advice to us; to all who are troubled and afraid.

But Jesus doesn’t stop here. He goes on to tell them that he is going to heaven to prepare a place for them. This earth was just a temporary abode and they were not to fear what happened here; their destination lay beyond death. And he would himself come to take them. This is also advice to all of us, especially those who fear death, be it our own or the death of others. Jesus has prepared a place for us, and can you imagine what that must be like after 2,000 years of construction? We will talk about these “places” another time.

Finally, Jesus tells them that he has prepared a way for them to get there. Everybody wants to get to heaven but few know how. However, now they do because he has told them how. It is through him because he is the way, the truth, and the life. These final words of comfort should bring peace to all of us who wonder about where we will go when we are done here on earth. We are going home. All we need to do is follow Jesus.

As we reflect on these verses, let's ask ourselves: Do we believe in Jesus as the Son of God? Are we comforted by the promise of a place in the Father's house? And are we ready for Jesus' return?

God bless you.

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