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 unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.John 14:2-3
I have heard this verse several times, but after my journey to Israel, it has come to mean so much more and given me a different context and meaning to it words. We went to see the old ruins of Capernaum where there was a synagogue and where Peter possibly lived during Jesus’ time. It was located off of the sea (lake) of Galilee, which lent a beautiful view. We looked at the ruins and our guide and host pointed out several interesting items that I had not considered. We tend to look through the lens of our 21st century western world when we read the Bible, even though it is set in the Middle East in ancient times. I was hoping for this perspective when we first started the trip, and I am grateful for those who taught us historic lessons to give us this context.
As we viewed this ancient city, our guide explained the synagogue and how it served many purposes as it was a meeting place for the community as well as a place to hear the Old Testament read. I learned a lot about that, but as we moved toward the rubble of a house, I saw something that struck a chord with me. This house was a traditional home. There appeared to be several rooms in this house and it was a rather larger footprint than I expected. There were many questions that arose in my mind while I viewed this layout, and our guide and host began to explain what we were looking at.
Our host advised us that when a man took a bride, he would build an addition to his father’s home to accommodate his new spouse. Once the couple was espoused, there would be a preparation of the room and the bride would prepare herself for the groom to take her back once everything was ready. The bride knew that the groom would come for her when things were ready, and there would be a great celebration that would ensue. The people who heard Jesus speak this message would have known exactly what He meant as this was the tradition at the time.
I always thought of a grandeur mansion that you might see in Carmel, California, but the word “mansion” here is speaking of a dwelling place that He is preparing for us, a room in heaven that we might abide with Him for all eternity. This is Jesus’ promise that He will come back for His followers that we may spend all eternity with Him. I am sure the bride in ancient times became anxious awaiting the return of the groom, but she made sure to be prepared for the arrival of the groom. As I saw these rooms in Capernaum, I thought of how my room in Heaven will be adjoined to the Father’s house and how I will spend all eternity with Him. I thought of the preparations He is making for us that we may dwell in the house of the Lord forever. There was no room for Him when He came as a baby, but there will be a room for us when the time comes.
Are you ready for your Savior’s coming? Are you excited for that day? Do you realize we are closer to His coming today than we were yesterday? What a thought that He is preparing a room for His bride (the church), which is us. No wedding will ever equal the excitement we will experience when our groom comes for us. Praise God for the promise of His coming, and may we be encouraged and ready.