Today I am going to continue unpacking these familiar Red Letters that the Holy Spirit has been opening up to me lately.
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 KJV
These three Chapters of John’s gospel (14-16) are known as “the Last Discourse.” These are not Christ’s last words, but it is the last time He will spend any substantial time teaching His disciples before they see Him crucified and their worlds do a three-day tailspin. In the verse right before this one He tells them not to let their hearts be troubled and to hold onto their faith.
So when you read these two verses about dwelling places, (or in the King James, mansions!) I suspect you, like me, are thinking of a place in heaven, a kind of Christian retirement plan. Do you envision beautifully kept gated neighborhoods with manicured lawns, perhaps a few angelic gardeners, picket fences and golden avenues?
It’s hard for me not to think of it this way, because the songs I grew up singing and the sermons I grew up listening to, all pointed to my very own ‘pie in the sky.’
Not to upset the apple cart too severely, I do hold tightly to the hope (aka confident expectation) in a glorious life after my graduation into glory. But as I mentioned Monday I am convinced that this mansion promise is not about heaven at all, but it is about the here and now?
There are a couple main topics Jesus is teaching about in this Last Discourse. Though I am sure we could study this passage for decades and not fully get everything the Spirit packed into these few pages, there are a couple outstanding themes.
The two themes I see dominating this passage when I read these 3 chapters are the call for us to ABIDE in Christ, and the nature and work of the INDWELLING (aka abiding in us) Holy Spirit.
The word that is most often translated “abide” takes 2 forms. The verb form ‘abide’ is used fourteen times in this teaching. But the word has a noun form as well. We might say ‘abode’ or a ‘place to abide’ if we wanted to show the relationship of the words.
The Bible translators however used words that are valid, but do not link the ideas in our English thinking brains. They use words like; mansion, dwelling place, or room. Since we don’t see the link in these words, it is easy not to make the connection between – say – abiding in the vine, (a command for here and now) and this mansion we have pictured in heaven in the future.
This Greek word for abode is only used one other place in the New Testament and it is just down the page.
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. ~ John 14:23
Clearly we believe verse 23, where we learn that God is going to take up residence in the believer’s life, to be a here and now promise. In fact this is the focus of the standard evangelical salvation plan, isn’t it. Don’t most gospel invitations include, “ask Jesus to come into your heart”? This is where we get that bit of our theology – right here in the red letters.
Once we cross into Chapter 15 you can not miss this theme, and you will see clearly that our abode, rather than a mansion in glory, is the person of Christ.
Check it out:
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. – John 15:4
Jesus is telling the boys that the only way to be successful in the Christian walk is to abide in Him, and allow Him to abide in them.
So it is today. If you are struggling to live the ‘Christian life’ it may be that you have not swapped keys with Jesus.
It is one thing to give Jesus access to your house, but the real key to the Christian life, is to move in with Jesus.
He (Christ) is your mansion in glory, and you can move in today. [Tweet This]
Lord Jesus, I want to live IN YOU. I want to live my life looking out Your windows – the windows of a heavenly perspective. TODAY can you show me what is holding me back? Show me one thing today, and give me the courage to change it, show me truth today that will break the power of the lies holding me back and keeping me stuck.
Let it be so!
See you again soon.
Will you do me a favor? If these ideas help you or bless you, would you share them with your circle? That would be a huge blessing to me.