PFOA : John 14:1-3

Read John 14:1-3

Over dinner, Jesus had spoken about his betrayal and his imminent departure. He had challenged Peter’s profession of loyalty, saying the he will deny him. The disciples could not understand what he was saying, that he was going away and they could not follow him. They did not notice that Jesus was troubled for they were overwhelmed by the idea that soon they will not have a leader. What would they do? Was this the end of the movement? What could a bunch of country folks from Galilee do without their leader?

In spite of his own anguish, Jesus spoke to comfort them. He turned their eyes towards eternity. Yes, he was leaving them. Actually he was going ahead of them to prepare the way. He had gone to prepare a place (Gk. topos) for them in the Father’s house with many rooms or dwelling places (Gk. monē). And then he will take his disciples there to be with him.

This passage is often used at funerals and for good reasons. Here we have Jesus’ promise that he has room in the Father’s house for his followers. “Dwelling place” is a better translation than KJV’s “mansions” which engenders materialistic thinking. The emphasis in v. 3 is on being in the presence of Jesus together with God the Father. Those who died in Christ has a place in God’s house, in the presence of God the Father and the Son. This assurance gives comfort to the bereaved.

But on that night, Jesus spoke these words to the disciples of his own impending departure, not theirs! It was for their comfort and encouragement as they considered the prospect of going on in the absence of the leader whom they followed closely for the last three years. Soon they would face discouragement, persecution, suffering and death.

The important words here are not the “many mansions” (v. 2, KJV), but “you believe in God, believe also in me” (v. 1 NIV). Jesus was teaching his disciples to think beyond the temporal and materialistic. He had taught them many things during the three years. Now as he began his final discourse with his disciples, he identified himself with God by saying, “Just as you trust God, you can trust me”.

Jesus had gone ahead to prepare a place for his disciples. Do you think he’s taking a long time to do it? Does God’s house need a lot of renovation? Perhaps time is needed to prepare the disciples (including us), so that we may be fit for it?

But with their eternal destiny assured the disciples would be able to overcome every situation they would face. Hence later Peter was able to write, “But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed (1 Pet. 4:13). And Paul put it clearly “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18).

Indeed, these verses are a ground of hope and comfort to the bereaved at the passing of a loved one. But they are relevant and applicable to every Christian individual and community at all times, that our place in God’s kingdom is assured, and that there is comfort and encouragement as we persevere in living for and serving Christ in the here and now.

• Let’s pray for one another that being reminded of the assurance of eternity with God will encourage, strengthen, and embolden us to live for and serve the Living God.


Tony Chan