Read John 14:1–4.
I still remember the first time I showed Laurin the house I had purchased. We were only dating at the time, but I had already begun thinking about marriage, and so this wasn’t just my house; this was the house where we might just start a new life together.
By the front door was a large bush that, upon further inspection, turned out to be a colossal weed. Its trunk was thicker than many of the trees in the yard. Moving inside, nearly every surface—walls, carpets, hardwoods, and even the ceiling—needed to be refinished, patched, replaced, or painted. Needless to say, we would not be taking our shoes off on this visit. Nearly all the light fixtures had been ripped out by the home’s previous owners before they vacated, but thankfully it was a sunny day and the broken blinds hanging from the window frames could still be opened. And though I had been told the house hadn’t been lived in for over a year, that wasn’t exactly true. There were signs of life all over the place—evidence that critters, birds, and creepy-crawlies had made the place their own.
Laurin was gracious. I think she could see the potential of the space. She had an eye for fixer-uppers; she was dating me, after all. Over the next few months, we worked together to make that house a home so that when we did get married a year later, it was just that—a home.
Jesus knows how to make a house a home too. He promised His disciples as much. “My father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2). Exactly what that home and those rooms will be like is still a mystery, but as the late CCM pioneer Keith Green once noted, “If this world took six days and that home took two thousand years—hey, man—this is living in a garbage can compared to what’s going up there.”
In Jewish culture of the first century, home prep wasn’t about flipping houses to make a few dollars or keeping up with the latest design trends; it was connected to marriage and family. It was about the rootedness that comes from living in the same community for generations.
When a man and woman were to be married, the would-be groom would make a visit to the home of his beloved. He would then ask her father for his blessing, and the two would negotiate a price for his daughter’s hand. Once an agreement had been reached, the couple would then be betrothed. Their marriage, though not yet consummated, would be binding. (This is why Joseph thought to divorce Mary when he believed her to be pregnant by another man; see Matthew 1:18–19.) From that point, the husband would begin construction on an addition to his own father’s house, a room that would serve as their part of the family home. This could take a year or more. When completed, the groom would travel with the wedding party to retrieve his bride and then take her to the new home he has prepared. That’s when the celebration would begin.
In John 14, Jesus is declaring His intentions. He is going to marry His bride and take her home to His Father’s house:
- Jesus’ earthly life is the visit to the home of His beloved.
- The price to be paid will be His own blood shed on the cross—weddings don’t get more costly than that!
- When He ascends to the Father after His resurrection, He’ll prepare a home where He and His bride will live forever.
- Jesus promises to return for His beloved: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you with me that you also may be where I am” (v. 3).
Jesus is coming back, and we must be ready. Just as a bride waits eagerly for signs of her husband’s coming, so we must never stop looking for Jesus’ return. And in the same way that a bride is faithful to the one she loves above all others, so must we be loyal and true to the Savior who gave Himself for us. One day, it will be said, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come. And his bride has made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7).
Just thinking about the home Jesus is preparing for us should fill us with praise. It will be beyond our wildest dreams, something that “no eye has seen, … no ear has heard, and … no human mind has conceived” (1 Corinthians 2:9). The best part will be His presence.
But Jesus goes further. He’s not only preparing a home for us, He’s also preparing us for that home. You and I are His labor of love, the construction project only He can handle. To be sure, He loves us as He finds us—and He finds us like a building condemned. The foundation is crumbling, the structural damage is rampant, and the wiring is a total mess. So Jesus, through His Spirit, begins working, slowly and tenderly bringing us up to code. He renovates, repairs, replaces, and restores, until the old is gone and the new has come.
Right now, we’re all works in progress, dependent upon His grace. Rest assured, though, Jesus won’t abandon us, for we have this promise from God’s Word: “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
And what a day that will be…