In My Father's House Are Many Dwelling Places

John 14: 1-4

The Upper Room Discourse
Late Friday Evening the fifteenth of Nisan

DIG: What comfort does Jesus offer His apostles? Look at Peter’s question in John 13:36. What question is he struggling with? How does Yeshua answer Simon’s question here? What Jewish custom did the Lord use to serve as an example of His ultimate return? How was this Good News to Kefa?

REFLECT: Do you have a troubled heart today? Are you finding it difficult to sleep? Are you under stress? Is your joy crushed? Are you burdened? Worried sick? How do you react during such times? Do you blame God? Or do you run to Him for comfort?

Jesus was giving His final instructions to the eleven apostles. They had never known their Rabbi to talk so much, and with such finality as He spoke of His departure (John 13:31-35). He referred to it as His glorification, saying: Now is the Son of Man glorified (John 13:31). No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made Him known (John 1:18). By Christ’s life, words, and works Yeshua had revealed all that is possible to reveal about the Father to the world. Now through Messiah’s death and resurrection the Father would confirm to the world that the Son was who He claimed to be. Thus, the Lord could refer to the coming events as God’s glorification of the Son.

Jesus clearly stated to His talmidim that He would soon leave them and that it would be impossible for them to come with Him (John 13:33). He must go alone. The thought completely overwhelmed the Eleven. During the years of the relationship with Him, they had come to trust Him completely for every need. Complete dependence. He had assumed a role like a father, providing, protecting, guiding and instructing these men like children. In truth, babes in the faith. They had come into an intimate fellowship with Him. The proof that they desired to see it continue was their willingness to accompany Him to Zion even though they felt it would involve their own deaths. Thus when Yeshua told them that they could not go with Him when He went away, they felt utterly depressed and abandoned. The apostles addressed four specific questions to Christ that He, in turn, answered.

Peter’s question was the first. He asked: Lord, where are you going (John 13:36)? A storm raged within these men as they heard Messiah announce that He would shortly leave. To quiet the storm Jesus poured out His heart by saying: Do not let your hearts be troubled. Obviously Yeshua didn’t condemn worry per se, neither does the Bible for that matter. In order to quiet their fears Christ said: Trust in God; trust also in Me (John 14:1). The present tense of the verb implies continuous action: Keep on trusting . . . To trust in someone is to have faith in them or believe in them. The Greek word pisteo has a wide semantic range and can be translated: trust, faith or belief.This word, in one form or another, occurs ninety-nine times in the book of Yochanan. In God’s case, we are encouraged to trust, have faith in, and believe in His ability and willingness to care for His children.

Let’s face it. Humanly speaking, when something goes horribly wrong in life we look up to heaven and ask two questions. Why did God allow this to happen? Or, where was ADONAI? Both suggest that the Lord was either unwilling or unable to prevent tragedy. When pressed by worldly affliction, we naturally begin to wonder if He was abandoned us. We doubt His goodness or power. Yeshua asked His talmidim to trust in the midst of their confusion.1421

One of the unique features of the B’rit Chadashah is that Jesus is our high priest who goes before us into the most holy place, not as a substitute, but as a forerunner whom we are to follow.1422 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you (John 14:2 NASB). He gave them the promise to return and receive them personally into that eternal home of heavenly fellowship.

In order to further quiet their fears, the Lord gave them a promise concerning the future. The separation that resulted from His departure would not be permanent; it was only temporary. The Jewish wedding ceremony was broken into four distinct stages (see Al – The Birth of Jesus Foretold to Mary). The first stage was called the shiddukhin, meaning the arrangement. As time passed, there would come a point when the couple was old enough to confirm their desire to be married. This is known as the erusin, or engagement. Our modern understanding of engagement does not fully capture its meaning for the people of the New Covenant times. Today, an engaged couple may break off their commitment with no legal ramifications, but a couple in first-century Judea were bound together with a much stronger agreement. To enter into this erusin period, the couple would have a public ceremony called a ketubah. When the ketubah was signed, the couple would enter a formal one-year betrothal, which meant the man and the woman were legally bound in marriage.

Before the actual presentation of the bride to the groom, he would busy himself preparing a future home for the couple, often as a room addition on the father’s house. Using this imagery, Christ said to these men: I AM going there to prepare a place for you (John 14:2 NASB). This indicated that while He was away from them, He would not have forgotten them. Rather, He would occupy Himself by preparing a place where they could dwell with Him together in His Father’s house.

The second stage of the wedding ceremony was known as the fetching of the bride. At that time the groom’s father would sound the shofar or the ram’s horn. He determined when the fetching would occur (see Jw – The Parable of the Ten Virgins). Then the groom would fetch, or take his bride, and she would literally be carried back to his home, the place of the ceremony. Therefore, Jesus said: 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 14:3). This was a promise that the separation that had so distressed the apostles would not be permanent. Simon Peter knew this custom well and it would have been very reassuring to him. He could look forward to a blessed reunion with the Lord. One day Jesus would come back as the bridegroom for His bride and take him and the rest of the talmidim to a place that the Meshiach had been preparing for them during the time of His absence.1423

Then Yeshua added. You know the way to the place where I AM going (John 14:4). The Lord had answered Peter’s question. Kefa could not follow Jesus where He was going at that time, but Messiah would came back and take him to His father’s house where they would be united forever.

This is the Good News for us also. Let’s not let our hearts be troubled. The suffering of this present time is temporary. The joy and glory to come are for all believers, for all eternity (see Ms – The Eternal Security of the Believer). Whatever you are suffering, God is committed to you. Surrender to ADONAI in love and watch Him bring good out of even seemingly unbearable situations, or bring you through the heartache. Let His Ruach HaKodesh form you more completely into the image of Jesus, who is the fullness of life.

Lord, we are watching and waiting for Your return. Enlighten our minds to reach out to others; kindle our hearts to speak healing words; empower our wills to trust in You when things get tough. You are worthy, Amen.1424


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