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JOHN 14:1-3 ESV
1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
Our text today is Jesus with His disciples on the eve of His death. He’s telling them that He will be leaving them soon and they’re not happy about. And because they don’t fully understand all that He means by leaving, they can’t comprehend that everything He is doing is for their own good; for their preparation and equipping as growing disciples and world-changers.
Jesus’ life and ministry have been one long witness to and example of how God is working in the world. And everything God has done, is doing, and will do is work that includes our participation. We’re invited through Jesus into the activity of God. Whether its feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, advocating for the oppressed, God is working and is calling us into life-transforming work with Him.
All of this work is caring work. We often forget that we come to faith in order to have a relationship with a God who cares about the needs of the world. God is truly a need-meeter. We watch Jesus, as the old hymn says, “Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,” and we know that Jesus is making a way for others. The world doesn’t know how to provide for the soul, it only knows how to take from it. And so we come to this important section of verses for today, with my hope being that you will learn a bit today about the care of God.
Jesus says that He is going to prepare a place for His disciples. His redemption work makes way for the children of God to be with God. All of the care that He exercises for the world is to meant to create a place for His children and to mold them into godly children. He is sharing His nature, all of his need-meeting characteristics. And so, Jesus must first make a place for us to become like Him.
Like the love of a dedicated mother, the love of God for His children paves the way to godly prosperity through constant sacrifice and life-giving work. Jesus is gathering the children of God together, making a way for them when sin had taken away their place with God and scattered them about.
As I read this text in preparation for today and thought about Mothers Day, I couldn’t help but think about the things the mothers I’ve known did for us growing up that connected with a godly example. I had wonderful childhood experiences in my hometown and in the neighborhoods where I lived and played.
The moms I knew hosted the neighborhood kids at their houses, providing food from their own family pantry to feed scavenging nomadic neighbor-kids. Oh, the number of juice boxes and pitchers of tang and cool-aid consumed. The peanut butter and jelly sandwiches made and eaten. The gushers, fruit snacks, cookies and popsicles. The make-shift cots and pallets spread through the house for the overnight visits. The endless boxes of pizza and the many cases of Dr. Thunder and Mountain Lightning (smart moms buy the cheap knock-off colas when you gotta feed teenagers).
There were serious times, too, when other moms helped out. The times they would talk to us about what’s been going on at school, or about tough stuff at home when we were afraid to tell our parents. They laid down the law when kids argued or fought. They filled in other parents on what they were hearing in the backseat of the carpool van and taught us as a group what was right and what was wrong.
The mothers I grew up around were fierce and fearless. Sacrifice was a part of the job and they lived it. They created community through their acts of hospitality and kindness. They ruled with love in one hand and discipline in the other. And they knew EVERYTHING going on and we couldn’t figure out how.
If you haven’t thought about it, God uses moms to create community and this is what we need to see more of in both our homes and our places of worship. Like God, we are creating a place for people, space for them to live and grow. People become holy when they have a place that facilitates holiness. Children learn to play when they have a place to play. Kids make friends when they have a place to make friends. The same is true for salvation and sanctification. God saves by preparing a place for salvation. God sanctifies or makes people holy by preparing a place for holiness to take place.
Jesus was to return to heaven to finish preparations for those who would be saved. There is a place in heaven for you and for me, for the sinner and the saint, for all who will call upon the name of Jesus Christ because Jesus would be preparing for it. There is a place for you with God, it is what Jesus worked for through His ministry, His death, and His resurrection. Only through the care of God would humanity have a life-changing experience here, that would prepare a place for them in eternity.
This is a call to care. On this Mothers Day, you are invited to create community. To welcome in the neighborhood kids, to provide a safe place for them to grow and learn. Give them food, give them fun, but ultimately care enough for them that you will give them Jesus. Amen.