“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many dwelling places. IF it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.”
On a recent fishing trip my son was making a “pit stop” on the shore of a river while my friend and I stayed in his boat. The wind and current pulled the boat off the shore, setting us adrift because we had turned the motor off. A little voice called from behind the bushes, “Hey! You aren’t going to leave me here are you?” Of course we wouldn’t! After a brief moment restarting the engine, my friend and I idled up to the shore so my son could get back in.
Imagine the disciples’ concerns about Jesus telling them he was going to go away from them in a little while! “Where are you going? Why can’t we come? What will happen to us when you are gone? Will we see you again?” Jesus reassures them that his presence and power will be with them in the Holy Spirit while he is no longer visibly present and that he will return to bring them into his Father’s house, his Kingdom when he returns.
One of the cool images hidden in this passage is that of a groom telling his bride that he is going to leave her with her family for a short time so that he can go build an addition on to his father’s house so that their new family will have a place to start their new lives. Though living with our in-laws for the early years of our marriages may seem repugnant to us, it was common practice then. So Jesus not only assures the disciples of his presence and return, he assures them of his deep love and affection for them. Jesus’ followers are not just co-workers or missionaries or servants, we are people he loves dearly. In our prayer, worship, study, fasting, and service this Lent, how can we become more aware of Christ’s deep love for us?