On the night of His betrayal, Jesus was in the “upper room” with the apostles. In one of the longest immediate contexts of scripture in the entire Bible (Jn. 13-17), and just before the events that would lead to His leaving them and going back to Heaven would be begin to unfold, Jesus gave the apostles a great deal of instruction and encouragement. That very evening He would be taken into custody and run through a series of mock hearings. The next day He would be on the cross.
If these truths could be classified by importance, certainly one of the most important things He told them was what we read in 14:2-3: “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. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” A great deal is to be gleaned from these two verses.
First, Jesus affirmed that there is life after death. He was about to die on the cross, but that would not end His life. He speaks of Heaven in terms of a place of many dwellings where the faithful will live in eternity. His care for us continues even as He is in Heaven and we remain on this earth. He is there actively preparing a place for us to be with Him. These facts ought to bring great comfort to every one of us, especially as we face difficult situations in this life.
In the midst of all this, Jesus says He’s coming again to receive us to Himself. So, He’s coming back. But, He’s not just coming back- He’s coming back for us! Wow! That reality should thrill us.
But then the sobering question arises in our mind: “Will I be ready for Him to come back when He does come back?” Jesus warned us to be ready for His return. “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matt. 24:44).
The prospect of going to be with our Lord in Heaven for eternity should be thrilling for every one of us. But the realization that only those who are prepared will go to be with Him should also be quite sobering. Scripture only indicates one trip that Jesus will make back to this world for us. At that point He will not only take the faithful to Heaven to be with Him, but this world will also be destroyed (2 Pet. 3:9-10). Our time to prepare for eternity will be up, and our time here on this earth will be over.
If we’re not ready to go and be with Jesus at that time, the gates of Heaven will be shut to us (Matt. 25:1-13), and we’ll be cut off from Him and have to suffer the torments of Hell for eternity (2 Thess. 1:7-9). The scriptures do not indicate any third alternative. That appears to be reality, based upon what God’s word says!
So, our Lord is in Heaven preparing a place for the faithful- only for the faithful. Our faithfulness is being determined right now, on the basis of how we are living our lives (Rev. 2:10). Our love for our Lord is demonstrated by our obedience to His teachings (Jn. 14:15, 21, 23-24). Are you living by His teachings? Are you living for Him? Are you ready for the Lord to come back for you? If not, what will you do when He comes for you..?
Gary L. Hutchens