“Home” is the word that, for many of us, brings to mind wonderful memories. If you were blessed with a good family of origin, your home was the key place where you learned about love and security, discipline, sharing, forgiving and many other crucial parts of life. When you leave home, whether for a short trip or for launching your adult life, it’s always good to get back. Even if you have established your own home, separate from your family of origin, there’s just something extra special about returning. Your favorite chair, pictures, dishes or tree. Your favorite books, smells, views or porch swing. It’s good to go home, especially after business travel, and get those hugs, maybe even squeals of joy.
When Lyudmila Martemyanova returned home in January 2008, she was surprised in a very unpleasant way. A leaky roof, a pet’s mess or a break-in? Worse! She found no house at all. This Russian woman’s house was torn down mistakenly by construction workers, despite the fact that another one nearby was marked for demolition. “There was nothing left, not even a log,” she said, as she stood on her snow-covered lot in the city of Nizhny Novgorod. Construction is booming there from the country’s oil revenues. Older housing is being torn down and many Russians report unfair and inadequately compensated evictions, but Lyudmila’s case was even more extreme. She has taken it to court, saying the builder’s offer wasn’t enough to get a room on the outskirts of the city.
What’s the opposite of Lyudmila’s surprise? What’s even better than any welcome-home experience you’ve ever had? Jesus promised something better in John 14:1-3 in words too often relegated to funerals. He invited anxiety-free trust in God and in Himself and then said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms…I am going there to prepare a place for you…I will come back and take you to be with me.” (NIV) Instead of “rooms,” other translations put “mansions,” “dwellings” or “resting places.” For verse 3, William F. Beck’s translation has “I’ll come again and take you home with me.” What a thought! “Take you home with me.”
Early translations influenced by the Latin Vulgate seemed to suggest “temporary lodgings,” but Jesus is emphasizing permanence. John 14:23 affirms to the loving, obedient believer, that Jesus and His Father will come to him and make their home with him. They are not looking for a Motel 6 or even a nice hotel! Jesus is saying every believer can look forward to joining Him in heaven, in a permanent home, from which eviction is impossible. But, He is also saying that each of us can offer Him a home, even before we are welcomed “home” in heaven. Your heart can be His home today. Please be sure He doesn’t get evicted or that His home doesn’t get torn down by mistake.
Article copyright (c) 2009 by Charles G. Mickey. All rights reserved.