The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 11/28

Posted on | November 28, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 11/28

Scripture reading: John 14:1–11

Pie in the Sky?

I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)

 The historic creeds of the Church speak of life after death in terms of a “sure and certain hope.” But today most Americans’ belief in the hereafter could be defined as a vague and fuzzy optimism. Most believe that virtually everyone goes to a “better place” when they die, where they float about as disembodied spirits “looking down” on those on earth. Really? It is difficult to imagine any rational adult planning a vacation with only a “vague and fuzzy” notion about their destination. Yet millions of people seem content to set out on life’s ultimate journey without the foggiest notion of what really lies ahead!

On the night before Jesus faced his own death, he spoke candidly about that final destination. In John 14:1–6 he described what awaited his followers on “the other side.” Jesus urged them to anticipate and prepare for the day they too would make that final journey. This is what he wanted them (and us!) to know:

Heaven is a place. I go to prepare a place for you, he said. Heaven is not a state of mind or an imaginary concept. It has a specific locality. It is a real place, as real as Cleveland. Actually, it is more real than Cleveland! Though it may not appear on any map, that does not make it any less real. But where is it? Heaven is where the Father is and since God is everywhere, so is heaven. Then why don’t we see it? Perhaps for the same reason a baby in the womb doesn’t see the world. Though the unborn infant is already in the world, all he or she can perceive is the silent, solitary blackness of the womb. Trying to describe the intoxicating beauty of the “real world” that is all around him in which he already lives (!) makes no sense at all to one not yet born.

Heaven is a prepared place. The word “prepare” describes the work of a host. Jesus is going ahead to make sure our accommodations are ready. The Father’s house has “many rooms,” and Jesus is promising that when we arrive, things will be just perfect. Our new living quarters will be custom made so that our ultimate happiness is guaranteed. As a carpenter, Jesus knows how to build a home to satisfy those who will live in it. His advance preparations for our arrival make those customized homes built on Extreme Makeover seem like child’s play in comparison!

Heaven is a prepared place for prepared people. As Thomas listened to Jesus talk about this wonderful place called heaven, he was frustrated. He wanted assurance that he would finally arrive at this destination. But he needed a map. He needed directions. How can we know the way? he asked (v. 5). Jesus’ response is the definitive statement for any honest seeker looking for  an  honest answer  concerning the way to heaven. I am the way . . . no one comes to the Father except through me. Ah, there’s the rub. The gate is narrow that leads to life. Those who reject the way cannot reach the destination.

What about you? Are you ready for that final journey? God didn’t send us a map. He sent us a Guide. Jesus did not come to show us the way but to embody the way. Follow me, he said. If you trust in him, your destination is secure. Let not your hearts be troubled.

  

People think heaven is escapist because they fear that thinking about heaven will distract us from living well here and now. It is exactly the opposite, and the lives of the saints and our Lord himself prove it. Those who truly love heaven will do the most for earth. —Peter Kreeft

 

 

point to ponder Jesus warned that the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, “and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13–14).

 

prayer focus Someone facing death.

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