“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 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? 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.” (John 14:1–3, ESV)
An amazing thing about many believers who face certain and near death is that they are able to do so with a good amount of peace. The reason they are able to do this is that the Spirit has given them rest as they trust in the greater promise of God’s faithfulness to bring them from their frail existence into His glorious presence. For them they realize that this is not the end, but really the realization of the great hope in which they lived. When people surround these believers in these moments they soon realize that rather than comforting them that they themselves are the ones being comforted.
Here Jesus told His disciples to not let their hearts be troubled. Sure He was soon going to go through a very intense time leading to His death on a cross and Him taking on the incredible burden of the sins of mankind. It was going to Him being forsaken by God the Father in a way that only God the Son could understand as He became sin for all of us. But beyond that He already knew that He also was going to take His life back up again and return to the Father who sent Him. He was going back home. And rather than being emotionally overwhelmed by the sheer weight of what was soon to happen, He looked past that to the other side and because of that He was able to comfort His disciples who were with Him.
His disciples believed in God, and here Jesus is telling them again to trust what God had said and believe in Him as God become man for them. If they had their hope in God then they could also find hope in His words. From there He told them that when the “now” comes which He referred to in the previous verses and the afterward had arrived that they would join Him in a place which He was preparing especially for them.
This is quite a contrast to how Jesus came into the world. As a baby who was born in some undisclosed location or structure and laid in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn. His parents had gone to Bethlehem as they had been required to register for the census, and when they arrived there were no available rooms so Mary gave birth to her son in the only place they could find and laid their newborn son in a manger, which was a feeding trough for animals. Jesus came into the world without a room to be born in, and in leaving this world He assured His disciples that they would have one prepared for them. Unlike the ways of man, God worked differently and God was able to take care of every single one of them.
What an amazing thought to know that when Jesus the Christ left His disciples behind He left them with the assurance that He was leaving to prepare a place for them. And beyond that He left them with the assurance that He would not leave them blind to find their way there. He would in fact take them there to be with Him. And they are left with assurance that this is where they would remain for all eternity. Jesus said that where He was there we would be also. Sure, this was specifically said to His disciples to whom He was speaking in the Upper Room on that last night, but this is a truth that we read in the Bible to be for all who believe.
Unlike one faith system around today that holds that there will be exactly 144,000 who go to heaven to rule with Christ, the Bible assures us that with God there is no such limit. In fact, we read that while many will perish, Christ’s shed blood was without limit in its adequacy to cover the sins of man. It is not about hitting this magic number and then being done even though God does know the time when Christ will return in the clouds to take up His church and God does know the time when Christ will return to the Mount of Olives to restore Israel. God knows everyone who is saved throughout time, and He has room for every one of them. He has room for me and He has room for you.
“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” (2 Corinthians 5:1–5, ESV)