CHRIST WENT TO THE CROSS TO PREPARE A PERMANENT PLACE FOR US IN HEAVEN
“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.” [John 14:2]
The Father’s house is His dwelling place. It is noteworthy that the Lord Jesus is the only one who ever referred to the “Father’s house,” and He did so on three occasions. First, He had said of the temple in Jerusalem, “Make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise” (John 2:16). Then He had mentioned it in connection with the prodigal son and his elder brother: “As he came and drew near to the house (i.e. the father’s) he heard music and dancing”; here it is presented as the place of joy and gladness. In John 14 Christ mentions it as the FINAL ABODE of the saints.
The Temple at Jerusalem had been called the Father’s “house” because it was there that the symbol of His presence abode, because it was there that His people communed with Him. But before the Lord Jesus closed His public ministry He disowned the Temple, saying, “Behold your house is left to you desolate” (Matt. 23:38). Therefore does the Savior now transfer this term to the Father’s dwelling-place on High, where He will grant to His redeemed a more glorious revelation of Himself, and where they shall worship Him, uninterruptedly, in the beauty of holiness.
“In My Father’s House are many mansions.” The many rooms in the Temple prefigured these (see I Kings 6:5, 6; Jer. 35:1-4, etc.). The word “mansions” signifies “abiding places”–a most comforting term, assuring us of the permanency of our future home in contrast from the “tents” of our present pilgrimage.
This interpretation lays the groundwork for understanding what Jesus means when He says, “I go to prepare a place for you.” It is only as we read the words of John 14:1,2 in light of Hebrews 9-10 (which speak of the heavenly Temple being sanctified with the blood of Christ) that we come to understand that our Lord is speaking about going to the cross to prepare a place for His own. The section in which these verses are found opens with the words, “having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.” And Jesus has already told the disciples that He is going away so that they are troubled in heart. This is precisely the reason for His words in John 14:1, “Let not your hearts be troubled neither let them be afraid.” Jesus Christ came into the world to “go” to the cross. He would return to the Father by means of His atoning death and resurrection.
He does not (at this time) explain how the place in the Father’s house should be prepared for them; nor were they yet, perhaps, able to understand. The Epistle to Hebrews will show us, if we turn to it, that the heavenly places had to be purified with the better sacrifices which He was to offer, in which all the sacrifices of the law would find their fulfillment. Ephesians speaks similarly of the ‘redemption of the purchased possession;’ and Colossians of the ‘reconciliation of things in heaven’ (Heb. 9:23; Eph. 1:14; Col. 1:20).
“I go to prepare a place for you.” We understand this to mean that the Lord Jesus has procured the right–by His death on the cross–for every believing sinner to enter heaven. He has prepared for us a place there by entering Heaven as our representative and taking possession of it on behalf of His people. He has prepared for us a place by entering the ‘holy of holies‘on High as our great High Priest carrying our names in with Him. Christ would do all that was necessary to secure for His people a welcome and permanent place in Heaven.
So we see that it was by the blood that He shed on the cross that Jesus prepared a place for us in the Father’s house. We are made kings and priests to our God and are given a place to dwell with Him in the Heavenly Temple. It is now our privilege to be with the One who secured this for us by His death and resurrection. This is why Jesus finally brings comfort to the disciples in John 14:3 by saying, “If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself that where I am there you may be also.” Come Lord Jesus, and bring us to our eternal dwelling place. Amen!