“Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for 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” (Jn 14:1-3).
In the gospel of John, Jesus consistently stressed the one requirement to obtain eternal life; believe in Jesus. In fact, I have been so struck by this singular focus of Jesus’ message that I wrote a short book about it, Is Jesus the Only Way?.
What is new in this passage is the “where” of eternal life. The disciples had become convinced that Jesus had the words of eternal life. When many would-be followers withdrew from Jesus in John chapter 6, He asked His disciples, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” Simon Peter answered for the twelve, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have words of eternal life” (Jn 6:66-68).
But now, in these final hours, they learn the “where”. Eternal life will eventually be lived in heaven, in the presence of Jesus in the place He has prepared just for us. There is a lot we do not know about heaven. But this one certainty we do know; that we will dwell in the presence of Jesus Christ; “That where I am, there you will be also.” This is a promise that is ironclad.
And this promise is to all who believe (vs 1). If you have placed your faith in Jesus, you can be sure that in God’s house there are many dwelling places. Jesus is preparing one of these places for you. Jesus will come again to receive you to Himself. And you will forever be with the Lord. It is a beautiful promise, here revealed clearly to the disciples for the first time, about the “where” of eternal life.
When we lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, we had many opportunities to visit with our Latter Day Saint neighbors. One of the topics that would come up was the Mormon belief in three heavens; one heaven for bad people, one heaven for good people (like Rhonda and I, non-Mormon Christians), and a third heaven for Mormons in good standing.
Without trying to be sarcastic or flippant, I would take our conversation to John 14 and show our friends, “It doesn’t matter if there is one heaven or five heavens or a hundred heavens, I will be – based on this promise and my faith in Jesus – in the heaven where God and Jesus dwell.” The promise is sure. There is no ambiguity. We will live forever in the presence of Jesus.
Jesus is calling. Heaven is waiting. Believe in Jesus and you will live forever with Him.