Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me.…
We lament for the dead, because we ourselves dread death. The physical instinct, wisely given for the preservation of life, is controlled but not destroyed by faith. Afflicted believers, your sorrows are only the discomforts of a journey, each stage of which, however rough the road and wild the weather, brings you nearer home. The darkness is only that of the tunnel through which you are hurrying, and the speck of light at the end is nearing and brightening as you speed onward to the eternal sunshine. Our Lord speaks of heaven as home — "My Father's house." What a contrast to the gorgeous imagery employed by servants is this sublimely simple familiarity of the Son l Inspired men are overawed by the distant vision of the celestial city, with its pearly gates and streets of gold; as if a poor cottager, after visiting a royal palace, tried to describe the unimagined splendours of a place which members of the royal family simply knew as home. This was in harmony with His high claims of Deity! The disciples were not to be troubled on His account. Although betrayed, condemned, crucified, He was going home. They were not to be troubled for Him; and because of their intimate union with Him, they were not to be troubled for themselves. If heaven is Christ's home, it is ours also. We are "joint heirs with Jesus Christ." What hallowed associations are suggested by the word! Love makes home.
1. Home promises rest. There the wearied limbs or wearied brain repose after the day's toil. "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord; they rest from their labours."
2. Home suggests fidelity. We may suspect deceit and treachery outside, but we can cast off all reserve, all distrust at home.
3. Home suggests sympathy. There may be enmity outside, avowed or concealed, and even friends may sometimes prove forgetful, selfish, and unkind; but true home is the palace of love, "where hearts are of each other sure." But the purest of earthly homes are but faint types of that above. There every heart is wholly true to every other, being wholly true to God.
4. It is a permanent home; mansions, not movable tents, but an enduring habitation. "We know that when this earthly tabernacle is dissolved we have a building of God." How unlike the uncertainty of earthly things! The lake, reflecting from its unruffled surface the sky and stars, may, in one short hour, be wild with storms. The stream, which oft refreshed us, suddenly becomes dry. The fairest flowers droop even as we gaze on them. The loveliest homes are quickly broken up. No locks and bolts can shut out sickness and death.
5. And there is abundance of supply. There are "many mansions." The Father's house is large enough for all His children — vast as His own heart.
6. Number implies variety. The mansions are not uniform, though all are perfect. They are prepared for dwellers of varied capacity — for children and young men, for babes in Christ and for those of full age.
7. These hopes are not visionary. "If it were not so, I would have told you." The disciples had forsaken all to follow Him. They loved their Lord, and knew He loved them. Could such love perish? They expected a kingdom; and as it was not to be earthly, it must be heavenly. Would Christ allow them to serve Him as they did, on false expectations? He did contradict their expectation of a temporal kingdom — would He not have contradicted this heavenly hope had it also been unfounded? O believer, your hope is no idle dream! That city does glow with splendour. "If it were not so, I would have told you." St. Paul says, "We are of good courage, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord" (R.V.) Death is only the migration of the soul from the fleshly tabernacle to the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. We will not weep for them as dead. Is it death to reach home after the toilsome journey, to wear the crown after the fierce fight, to serve in the presence of the King, where there is fulness of joy? The funeral was only that of frailty, sorrow, and sin. A Christian in that coffin, in that grave? No! he is at home in the Father's house.
Parallel VersesKJV: Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.