Our Place of Hope, Heaven and Him

"I go to prepare a place for you.” Jesus’ words have sparked hope ever since He spoke them to His disciples. I have spent hours with others, envisioning the place that God has prepared for us.

A Place of Hope

Children have imagined a place beyond mere harps and clouds, where they could ride down the neck of a giraffe, pet lions and have the monkeys they've always wanted. My wife dreams of a place where she can wear clothes made of light. I can see her changing colors or design at a whim, or maybe having a mood dress that reflects her emotions.

I have desired a place where I could snowboard on warm snow. After I had finished, I would go to the tree of life and pick a spaghetti fruit with veggie-meatball seeds in a luscious red sauce. Mosquitoes would form humming kazoo bands because they would have totally repented of their former occupation.

From adults I hear talk about city homes in the New Jerusalem with golden walls and floors. I can only imagine the size of the oysters if they are going to produce pearls big enough to be gates of the city and doors in my house.

What is my hope for the place God has prepared? Is it the same as carried in the song’s sentiment? Will I have a mansion just over the hilltop, in that bright land where we will never grow old?

A Place in Heaven

Then it strikes me—did Jesus go to heaven to be a divine carpenter? Is He nailing golden boards with silver nails, to prepare a place for me? Is my hope based on the material things I will receive when I get to heaven? Was that the hope He was holding out to His disciples and to us?

In the disciples’ time, Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions” (my emphasis). It sounds like the New Jerusalem already exists! As I recall, it is this earth made new that is my eternal home, and Christ makes it new after the final judgment. He is not working on it now.

Then what is the place that Jesus is preparing for me? I believe Jesus was trying to say that He was going to secure a place for me in heaven. Doesn’t the Bible say that "He ever lives to make intercession” (Hebrews 7:25)? He is interceding for me with His blood, so that I can have my name on the front door of one of those mansions. He will vouch for my ability to be in heaven, based on the fact that I have accepted Him. He is validating my request to be there! I believe the work that God is doing now is not carpentry work, but court work.

A Place with Him

Jesus' message came to His disciples because He had told them that He would be going away, and they could not bear the thought of losing Him. His message was saying "do not worry." “I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you unto myself that where I am there you may be also” (John 14:1–3). The hope that He extended to them was not a hope for a fancier place but a place where they would never have to tell Jesus goodbye.

Oh yes, I am exited about all the fringe benefits of the earth made new. However, my hope is not in a place in heaven, but in a place with Him.

January 01, 2004 / Perspective

Jim Berglund of Medford, Oregon, is the Valley View Church pastor.