Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. 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. You know the way to the place I am going. John 14: 1 – 4
Today is Palm Sunday, and we commemorate Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem as He rode into the city on a colt with palm leaves laid out before Him and with shouts of praise. Many believed Him to be the promised Messiah and King, and they were honoring and celebrating His coming into the Holy City for Passover. But things changed quickly!
Many events took place from this day through the short week to come, as Jesus is arrested, tried and put to death. Then, next Sunday is Easter, and we will remember and celebrate His resurrection. It’s still shocking – all these centuries later – to think it could have happened in the way it did. How could the Son of God have faced such a cruel death, and how could those closest to Him begin to understand why? What could Jesus have meant when He said, “You know the way to the place I am going.”
In the week after His entry into Jerusalem, Jesus spent much time continuing to teach and prepare His beloved disciples and followers for what was to come. He understood that the time for His death was near, and He had much to teach them before He left their presence.
It is thought that on the following Thursday, Jesus joined His disciples in a Passover meal, known as “The Last Supper”, and later that night, events unfolded that led to His arrest and crucifixion. At this final meal together, Jesus told them about what was to come: that Judas would betray Him, that Peter would deny Him 3 times, and that He would be leaving them for a time and would later return.
Even though He has tried to prepare them throughout His ministry, Jesus must have sensed how troubled and concerned their hearts and minds were, and He wanted to comfort them with these words found in John 14. He encouraged them to trust in God and in Him, but especially He reassured them that death is not the end. He promised that even though He was leaving, He was going to prepare a place for them. He made it clear that He was returning to His Father’s house and that He, in all His power and glory, would prepare a place for them to join Him. He wanted them to know that He wanted them to be with Him for all eternity and “the way to this place” was to believe in Him. What a promise for the disciples to hold on to – even if they couldn’t begin to understand.
Scripture doesn’t give us much more information about what heaven will be like other than John’s vision in Revelation 21 and 22. In reading it, you can even sense that John had difficulty finding the words to express the vision before Him. We can imagine and wonder, but it is just too inconceivable for us. Perhaps that is why God chose not to reveal more of what is to come. He knew it was beyond anything we could ever imagine!
Yet, Jesus’s words are so reassuring as we think about never being separated from God and our loved ones ever again. And what a promise in Revelation 21:4, that “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” – only God’s goodness and glory.
We can only imagine that it will be a place filled with His indescribable love, joy, peace, and beauty. Could there be a more beautiful promise! Could there be a greater gift than the one God’s Son gave to us!
Just as the words in John 14 above gave the disciples much comfort, they should give us much, as well. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.” With Him, there is more to come in this life and more beyond this world, if we will trust in Him. We are in His care and we can always depend on His love and presence.
Dear Lord, thank you for your promises that we can always trust in you and that you will keep us in your care. Thank you for gift of your Son, for His saving grace and for the promise of heaven to come for those of us who call upon your most holy name. Amen