Do not let your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:1,2 NASB
Several of my friends have died in the past fifteen months. A sudden heart attack, cancer, Covid-19, and other illnesses have struck friends in their fifties as well as later in life. While some deaths were expected, others shocked me when I heard the news.
I grieve, of course. Jesus, the God of comfort, wept when He went to the home of Mary and Martha when their brother Lazarus died. Death always causes such pain and grief for the family and friends. No longer will I see some of my friends at church, or pick up the phone to talk with them, or see a social media posting from time to time from those far away. Death seems so… permanent.
Yet for many of my friends who have died, there is a sure hope, too. For those who were Christ’s followers, this is a temporary separation. I know I will see them someday. They knew Jesus Christ, and they are home with Him!
Jesus doesn’t want us to despair. He assured His followers that He was returning to His Father’s house to prepare a place for them. That place is with Him! Jesus said, “If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3) The grave is not our final resting place. We don’t stay there!
In 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 the Apostle Paul said, “Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (NIV)
When Jesus told Martha that her dead brother Lazarus would rise again, she said to Jesus, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” (John 11:23-26 NASB)
Did Jesus mean that all who believe in Him do not die physically? No. We all knew Christians who have died. Jesus meant our souls would not suffer death. The believer’s soul goes to be with our Heavenly Father. Those believers will return again with Jesus when Jesus descends from heaven with a shout! The dead [bodies] will rise first and then those people who remain will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord. (I Thessalonians 4:13-18)
How can we confidently know that we will be with Jesus? He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJV) He didn’t say He was a way or a truth. He is the only way to God.
I’m convicted that I need to love my friends and family enough to tell them that Jesus is the way to God.
Do your loved ones know the way to our Heavenly Father? Do they know that Jesus paid the price of their eternal death from sin by going to the cross and dying in their place?
Jesus is preparing a place for each of us that believe in Jesus. Are you confident that you will be with Jesus?
Dear Lord Jesus, please comfort me and the loved ones of my friends who have died. Thank you for preparing a place with You, where I will someday see You and where I will see my friends again. Thank you for providing the way for me to live forever with You, free from the punishment of my sins. Help me to share the hope found in knowing You. Amen.