“”Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14:1-14 ESV
One of the often missed references in this passage is because of the lack of understanding of the Jewish culture and customs. You see, that back in ancient Israel a young man would find a young woman he wanted to marry. Then once the fathers agreed upon the bride-price or dowry then the young man would go back home to his father’s home. These palestinian homestead complexes are called insulas. Basically since the entire extended family would live together, the son would simply start building a new dwelling attached to the courtyard or open space adjacent to his father’s or family’s dwelling. The young groom would then start the process of creating a home for he and his bride. And he would not return to gather his bride until the home was completely ready and all the preparations were complete. As such, the bride was forced to wait until some unknown time in the future when her bridegroom would return for her to take her home.
So effectively what Jesus was alluding to here in John 14 was this custom. He had been sent by his father in heaven, once he arrived here he paid the bride-price (mohar) for us, his bride, his church, by dying on the cross for us. And then when he ascended, he said he was going to prepare a place for us. And that his father’s house has many rooms, or dwelling places. You see we are no longer our own. We are now Christ’s. And as such we must be anxiously awaiting his return for us. We must be ready. And we must be excited about our lord’s return. Just like a betrothed bride, we should not be able to not talk with everyone around us about the long awaited arrival of our groom.
And Jesus, as our groom, wants to hear our requests. He wants to please his bride. But we as the bride must submit ourselves to the groom. And we must obey his commands and follow his ways.
Are you ready for His return? Are you excitedly sharing this with your friends, family, coworkers and acquaintances?
For more on ancient Jewish marriage customs, click here and here.