John 14:2-4 is an interesting passage. It is often read at the funerals of Christians.
My Father’s house has many dwellings; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going (John 14:2-4).
There are three important terms in this passage: “house”, “room”, and “place”. God has a house (oikos). In his house, there are many dwellings/abodes (monai). Jesus has gone to prepare a place (topos) for us.
When we read that Jesus said he was preparing a place for us, we assume that he was going to heaven to prepare a place for us to live when we die. That is one possible understanding, but it is really a distortion of what Jesus was saying. He was speaking much more about our present situation in this life on earth.
Jesus died and rose again and ascended to the right hand of God in the spiritual realms. He raised us up with himself to be seated with him in the spiritual realms far above all rule and authority. That is our position now, through faith. It is not something that we cannot enter until we die. Jesus prepared a place for us to be with him and share his victory in this life.
While he was on earth, God the Father lived in Jesus and worked with him.
I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?
It is the Father, dwelling in me, who is doing his work (John 14:10).
While Jesus was on earth doing the work of the Father, the Father was dwelling (meno) in him, enabling him to fulfil his ministry. Jesus was one of the dwellings in the Father’s house.
After talking about the gift of the Holy Spirit, Jesus goes on to explain that God will dwell in those who trust in him, before they die.
If anyone loves me, he will follow my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him (John 14:23).
This is the same word “monai” that Jesus was used in verse 2. This means that the people who love Jesus and follow his word are dwellings in God’s house, on earth now before we die.
In Mathew 18:21, Jesus said something similar.
For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.
He promised to be present wherever two or three of his followers gather together to serve him.
The implication of this that every small body of believers who gather together to serve Jesus become a dwelling in the Father’s house. Thus, there are millions of dwellings in the Father’s house here on earth. He comes to dwell in each of them. Jesus expands on his promise in John 15.
If you keep my commands, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love (John 15:10).
The word abide (meno) is the same word as Jesus used in John 14:10 for dwell. “Abide” is the verb connected to the noun “abode”. If we do Jesus commands we will dwell in his love. If a group of us love and obey him, we can become a dwelling in God’s house, now.
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