April 18-19, 2009
The Place He's Preparing . . . And the Way to It
by Charles R. Swindoll
Look again at what Jesus explained to His disciples during their last supper together:
"Do not let 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. 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." (John 14:1-3)
While these words mean a lot to us today, they confused those who first heard them. After all, they expected Jesus to overthrow the Roman government, releasing the people of Israel from that long-standing domination, and to establish His kingdom on earth. But at that time, they heard that He was going to a cross, and He was going to die, and that meant they'd be left without Him . . . and this information came at the tail end of their investing 3 1/2 years of their lives with Him, anticipating all the above.
And on top of all that, He told them not to be troubled? And then He told them He was leaving and returning to His Father? He went on to say that they knew the way He was going. It was at this point Thomas must have waved his hand and interrupted Him with words to this effect: "Lord, we don't get it . . . and we don't understand the way!"
Jesus's response was clear and concise. It represents one of the most important statements He ever made. He said this to all of them: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14:6).
As important as His returning to prepare a heavenly home for us may seem, there is something far more basic than that. And that is being sure that we're included in that eternal place He's preparing. To the surprise of most people, it has nothing to do with becoming religious or trying our best to be good or working very hard to earn a place on His roster. No, that's not it at all. Having a place in heaven after we die has everything to do with this one factor: our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Look again at His words. He, alone, is the way to God. He, alone, personifies the truth. He, alone, is the source of eternal life with the Father. Without the way there is no going. Without the truth there is no knowing. Without the life there is no living. And so, without faith in the Lord Jesus Christ there is no forgiveness of our sins, there is no hope beyond the grave, there is no home prepared for you in heaven.
Yes, the way that leads us into heaven is that narrow. To come to the Father and enjoy the place that's prepared, it must be through faith alone in Christ alone . . . Jesus Christ plus nothing. If Jesus's final words to His disciples at their last supper mean anything, they mean that.
Make sure that you not only understand this, but you also accept it, personally. Just as He has left the earth to prepare an eternal home for us, He urges you and me to prepare our hearts by receiving Him. He becomes the key that will unlock the door to your new home in heaven and allow you entrance.
Thankfully, I have trusted Christ . . . have you?
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.