John 13 ends with Peter’s denial being foretold to him in front of all the other disciples. Then Jesus tells all his disciples at the beginning of John 14, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; Trust also in me (NIV).” Other translations use the word “believe” instead of trust. Most of the time a bible study or sermon will end between chapters. Meaning, we separate these narratives into their own stories and environments instead of being together.
John 13, the foretelling of Peter’s Denial – The prediction of abandonment, failure.
John 14, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Trust . . .” – the command to stay faithful.
When you go straight into chapter 14, after hearing this prediction of failure, I am not sure how the disciples couldn’t be troubled by the prediction of denying Jesus. Denying his friendship. Denying His Lordship. Denying his presence.
And once again the contrast, the colliding, the two separate forces are present. Abide and Go. But something is different here. Denial is a “Go” without Christ. Denial is saying, “I don’t want to be with you.” While trust is an invitation to be vulnerable. Jesus sees after his prediction that the disciples need encouragement. So he gives three imperatives followed by his departing language again. Don’t be troubled. Trust. Trust. (paraphrased). But this time, in the departing language, he gives a reason for his departure and a sneak peak at a promise. The reason, to prepare a place for them. The promise, that he will come again.
Preparing a place, a room, for us to dwell. A place to abide with the Father and with him. “I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am, you may be also.”
“that where I am, you may be also.”
Preparing a dwelling. A place to Abide.
Most of the time we hear this Scripture and think of a place in heaven. As in, Jesus will take us to himself in heaven, because we think Jesus stayed in heaven. We often read it with ears to hear of the eschatological (end times) behind it. As in, Jesus is preparing a place in heaven for us to be with him, when we die. But Jesus doesn’t say that he will come again and will take you to heaven. He says, “I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am, you may be also.”
Jesus is telling the disciples that this is for later. For he has not yet been crucified or resurrected or ascended. But what does it mean for us, the church, who are reading it now, after the crucifixion, resurrection, and his ascension? Is Jesus telling us through His word that this dwelling, this place, is for now?
Jesus has prepared a place for you. But not just a place to experience after death, for he has conquered death. Jesus has prepared a place for you now, here, in the present. A place where he is present. Emanuel.
Jesus desires to Abide/Dwell with you today and tomorrow and the next days after that. He is not waiting to be with you in heaven. He is here. “That where I am, you may be also.” He is waiting for you to abide with him. Your house. Your home. A dwelling. A place that, if we were all honest, would say a place Jesus prepared for us.
In this time of tension, depression, so much on your plate, confusion – don’t Go without Christ. He sits in your home to be with you. He desires that you may be where he already is. He desires for your heart to be without trouble. And that is hard to accomplish when you are somewhere he is not. Spend time with him. Abide with him. Abide in the simplest place that you know of while acknowledging His preparation, that where He is, you may be also.