Many mansions (05-02-21)
A Bible Reading: John 14. 1 - 6
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 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? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Although we are not members of the National Trust, I have been browsing through last year’s guide to their properties to select some stately homes I would like to visit when Covid restrictions are lifted. Thoughts of opulent rooms, beautiful furnishings, interesting paintings and artefacts, and immaculate gardens all fill my thoughts with positive anticipation of better days ahead.
When we lived in Sheffield, we were regular visitors to the privately owned Chatsworth House. One Christmas I took my partially sighted Mum to the Christmas festival. On arrival, we discovered that we happened to have coincided with several bus loads from the RNIB. As we got to the door, with Mum clutching her white stick, a smiling dapper gentleman greeted us and presented us with two free tickets, which he excitedly pressed upon us even though we explained we were not with the RNIB. It was only later as we strolled through a room full of family photos, that we realized we had been welcomed in by none other than the Duke of Devonshire himself!
This got me thinking about this well-known passage from John’s Gospel, which we often hear at funerals. In my Bible it is headed: ‘Jesus comforts his disciples’, and we could certainly benefit from some comfort just now. God the Father’s house has many rooms; they are already prepared, and there are plenty to go round. ‘No room at the inn’ certainly doesn’t apply here.
The King James Bible speaks of ‘many mansions’ rather than rooms. The original Greek implies a dwelling place or a home. I like that! My Father’s house has a ‘home’ ready and prepared. That is much more than a mere room. It implies a place of safety and peace, and Jesus the King will be at the door to welcome us. A comforting thought indeed.
And how am I going to get there? The answer is so very simple. By following Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life.
Lord Jesus, thank you for preparing a home for us in your Father’s house. May we follow you ever more closely until we reach our eternal dwelling place. Amen.