Series -- 21 Portraits of Jesus in John's Gospel
The Sweetest Verse in the Bible: A young Christian at the deathbed of an aged saint, said to him, "Shall I read to you the sweetest verse in the Bible?" "Yes," was the reply. The young man read the verse in John 14: "In My Father's House are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare for a place for you." "No," said the dying saint, "that is not the sweetest verse. Read on." The young man read on: "And if I go and prepaare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also." That is the sweetest," said the dying man." "It is not the mansions -= it is Himself I want." Yes Jesus is the preparing one. Let's examine these scripture verses to discover the many facets of the truth.
This prepared place has a definite location. In Hebrews ll:16. it states, "...Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them." This place is given definite dimensions as Rev. 21:16 shares, "And the city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal." I have read that this would be equal to a city whose borders went from Jacksonville, Florida to New York, New York to St. Paul, Minnesota to New Orleans, Louisiana. That's quite a city. Recently, I heard of a country in the Far East about the size of Wisconsin whose population was thirty million. How many people can you get in a city fifteen hundred miles square? Don't forget it is also fifteen hundred miles high. But we can rest assured God has planned well.
Secondly, this is a beautiful place. We are told it has 12 gates and each gate is one pearl, we are told its streets are gold (Rev. 21:10-13). But, what about the beautiful music and praise to the Lord. Can you imagine thousands and hundreds of thousands of voices giving praise (Rev. 5:6)? Then, to think of the song of redemption being sung by the saints, it will be beautiful (Rev. 15:3). A little girl was walking with her father one night. Looking up she said, "Daddy, I have been thinking that if this side of heaven is so beautiful; what will the other side by like?
Thirdly, it is a knowing place. Several passages indicate this to us. A primary souce is from the transfiguration. Peter, James ane John recognized Moses and Elijah (Mt.17:3). But, Paul tells us, "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fulln known" (I Cor. 13:12). One of my New Testament professors said, "we can certainly expect to know what we know now and then some.
Fourthly, it is a restful place. Salvation is entering into the Lord's rest (Heb. 4:30). One reason there is such rest is found in Rev. 31:4. It tells us that there will be no tears, death, mourning, pain or crying.
Dr. Len G. Broughton waw from some years pastor of the Baptist Tabernacle of Atlanta. In his congregation he had a fine young Christian man who was quite sick, and Dr. Broughton went to see him. The young man knew that he could not live much longer, and he and his pastor talked about the heavenly city toward which he was going. As the young man talked about death and heaven, the tears welled up in his eyes. Dr. Broughton took a handkerchief and wiped the tears from first one eye and then the other. The young man then smiled and, looking up into the preacher's face, he said, "The next time my tears are wiped away, they will be wiped away by the loving hand of my Heavenly Father.
In our text there are several positive statements by our Lord. But,
notice the phrase, "...If it were not so, I would have told you;...(John
14:2). That can be looked upon as a very positive statement. Heaven is
a place. The Lord is there and every born again believer is there also
for there are many dwelling places and He prepares a place for us. Please
notice a second point in this development.
Reservations for this place are made in advance. (I Peter 1:3 & 3). Jesus must be acknowledged as Lord while on this earth; there is no hope after death if Jesus is not your hope while on this earth. The Bible tells us angels, elders and great host will be in that heavenly abode. But no human being will even be in heaven unless they have yielded their life to Christ.
One of the most striking Gospel tracts I ever read contained the essence of a story told by a young paratrooper to Dr. Carl Henry It seems that this lad was one of ten taken high into the air in a giant training plane for their first jump. At the given signal the ten lined up at the door of the plane; he was the third in line.
The first man stepped to the door, paused, then bravely walked out into space. Hie chute opened and he later landed safely. The second man stepped to the door, paused, then stepped back, trembling, from the line. Then this third boy, who told Dr. Henry the story, bravely stepped to the door, paused, looked, and jumped. He too, had a successful jump and a safe landing.
However, immediately after he cleared the plane, before another could leap, there was a terrific explosion and every man aboard that plane perished, including the boy who had been second in line but failed to leap. he had missed his last chance!
There is a parallel to be drawn from that story. Each of us has the
opportunity to make our step toward salvation . If we side step it might
mean our last chance. Faith must be expressed. If you want to be in the
number Jesus is preparing for, you'll need to make a commitment of your
life to Him. Why is Jesus preparing. Notice the third point.
He wants to have fellowship with us. In verse 3 again we read,"...that where I am, there you may be also." I believe this is also the reason we were created from the beginning. We have an innate capacity for God and fellowship with Him. He has created a longing in us that will never be satisfied without sweet fellowship with Him.
This story will illustrate this truth: A consignment of sheep had been sent from Scotland to Australia. The ship contained not only sheep but a supply of hay for their food. Just before reaching Australia, the sheep refused to eat. At the same time a dense fog covered the waters and for two days the ship was obliged to stop. The sheep paid no attention to their food and the owner feared that he was about to lose them. Then the fog lifted and before them were the green fields of Australia. The sheep had smelled the succulent pasture in the land not far distant, and it made them lose all appetite for the dried hay.
The closer a person gets to the Lord and heaven the more the things
of earth lose their appeal. We all should become more heavenly minded.
Because He prepares a place for us.