The Resurrection Life: Home

The Resurrection Life  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  19:42
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Our home is found in Christ's house. It is Christ's love and knowledge of us that invites us into the family. As image bearers, we are welcomed as a part of God's family. We welcome others in this same way.

The New Revised Standard Version Jesus the Way to the Father

Jesus the Way to the Father

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. 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, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And you know the way to the place where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

Do not let your hearts be troubled

I’d be in denial if I didn’t say my heart was troubled a bit these days. I am weary. I am concerned about our world. People dying from a widespread new disease. People losing their livelihoods and financial stability. People losing their sanity due to isolation and despair.
My heart is troubled. Honestly. I need to hear this word of comfort today. Perhaps you do too.
It’s often very helpful to try to place ourselves in the context of the Scriptures, in the place with the disciples who would have heard these words of Jesus. Consider the band of Jesus followers: fisherman, tax collectors, religious nuts, prophets, widows, orphans, children, keepers of the law and outcasts by the law. Weary travelers along the road. Many who had left their homes to follow Jesus.
One important piece that’s in the background of this text is the nomadic nature of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus and his followers traveled all over Galilee and Judea, from town to town, through the countryside. There would have been an underlying uncertainty with the followers about where they were going to stay each night, what they would eat, etc. Obviously, we have stories of the hospitality that was extended to them in many places along the journey, but if you’ve ever traveled a long distance without being completely certain of your destination or where you’d sleep in the evening, you know that they had to feel a bit troubled in their hearts.
It is to this uncertainty that Jesus speaks. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
Now, of course, Jesus’ words speak of what is to come, his departure from them. This is his farewell. He’s making promises and reminding his followers of the certainty they have found in him. But the hope of what is to come does make a difference for the troubles of our hearts in the here and now. If we know there is a destination, an end in mind, promised by a trustworthy friend, then we can breathe a bit easier now.
I want to pause quickly here and acknowledge that we often read this text as a promise of salvation and our eternal home with God. Good, that’s important. And yet, I also want us to pause and consider it from another angle — what is this saying to us about now? What is this saying about Jesus’ promise of a home now, here, in the resurrection life, not somewhere down the road?

Finding the Light - The Way of Jesus

Here is where it gets interesting, as Jesus explains first that he is the way, the truth, and the life — the entrance to God’s house is through him. And then he ramps it up a bit more by making it very clear that He and his Father are one — Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Jesus. All that Jesus is is indwelled with the Father’s way.
For living in the Resurrection Life now — what does this all mean?
The disciples are clearly expecting a more glorious God to be revealed, a more liberated way to be unveiled. They are expecting revolution and a new home to be found by undoing the powers and principalities of the world, the oppressive forces that keep them in poverty or as outcasts.
Jesus pulls back the curtain and makes it quite clear: You are already seeing the Father, in me. The house of God, which you are invited into, is hosted by yours-truly, me, Jesus, the one you’ve been with all along.
The important piece for the disciples is that God’s house is not some foreign place they cannot inhabit or belong to. Rather, because they have known Jesus and put their trust in him, they have already become members of that household of God and have a place prepared for them there.
It’s Mother’s Day. And it feels like there’s an appropriate connection here to the hospitality and welcome home that Jesus is promising and the way I’ve felt in the houses of my friends, the hospitality of their mothers.
Two stories come to mind: The first, it was the Summer after my first year of college. It was a lonely Summer, in that all the friends I’d made at Western Washington University had mostly gone back home to work and we were all very distant from each other. Late July, I got a phone call from a friend who would be my roommate the next year. He invited me to come visit him in Southwest Washington for a couple of days. I had never met his family, never been to his home, but I was invited by my dear friend. When I arrived, late in the day, a bed had been made for me, comfortable amongst a house already full with parents and siblings and life. I was served a delicious meal, carnitas, which I will always remember. The fact is, there was nothing particularly remarkable about the reception I felt when I arrived or stayed there — it was the beautiful way of welcome that I received that simply let me know I belonged as a part of the family. I knew the son…and therefore I was like a son. His mother, in particular, made me feel at home through her cooking and hospitality, like I was another one of her children.
Another of my college roommates’ family is very similar. Traveling across the country to be in his wedding, my dear friend’s family welcomed me and a host of other recent college grads to camp on their lawn, eat their food, borrow their cars, and celebrate their son’s marriage together. Because I was a friend of the son, I was a part of the family. I know for certain, if I were to arrive at their home once again today, I would be welcomed, offered a meal, a place to rest, and the love as one of the family.
I think about Mothers who do this. I think about Fathers who do this. Grandparents, Uncles and Aunts and friends who are closer than family.
Back to Jesus and the disciples — because we know Jesus, we are welcomed home by God. Jesus is the Light that Guides us home. And in that home, its actually a lot less about us having it all together or knowing the right prayers or being on good behavior. It’s actually a lot more about belonging to Jesus, to knowing him as our Shepherd, our good gatekeeper, our beloved friend. That’s how we get the welcome, not because we deserve it — but because we are a part of the family.

The Family Way - Home with God

Family of God, church of Jesus Christ, let’s bring this on home with some good news today.
My friends Moms (and Dads) welcomed me into their homes without question and with great warmth not because of anything I did, but because I was a friend of their sons. You might say that my friendship with their sons made me like a son myself.
Throughout the Scriptures, we hear a steady reminder that we have been made in the image of God, we have been called beloved and good. We were knit together with God’s loving hands. We are sheep who belong to the Shepherd. Jesus calls us brothers and sisters, family.
What does this mean for our world? What does this mean for the troubled hearts we have? What does this mean for the crisis we face which shakes the foundations of society?
Well, at the first, at the most basic level, we must remember that we bear the image of God. All humanity, all people, Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, outcast and upstanding citizen, rich and poor, gay and straight, black, white, brown, politicians and the unhoused, Americans and Mexicans, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons — all humanity bears that blessed image of God. That likeness of our creator is knit into our bones. Remember this. Sure, it might get obscured at times, sometimes its harder for us to see, sometimes our vision of that image gets cloudy — but it is there.
And once we remember that, we begin to recognize that we belong to a beloved family of others who hold that image. We all belong to one another.
And thankfully, there is a loving God who makes that place for us — the Father in whose house there are many rooms. (As an aside, the Greek word that Jesus uses in this text is very clearly Father — patros or pater…but, for the sake of the argument…it does not take much to stretch our theological minds to also encompass God as Mother here — in the Mother’s house, there are many rooms and a place prepared…if that helps us today to understand this welcome home in the resurrection life…then let it).
So for a world in crisis, we have the expectation of belonging in God’s house. For a world on the brink, where divisions seem to become only more stark, people of the Resurrection identify that they share a common home with their neighbors, in the face of all that would otherwise lead to despair.
For us, for the church — this reminder that Jesus has prepared a place should encourage us to do the same: to make our gathered home a place where those seeking the love of Christ, those who bear God’s image, know that they have a place to lay their heads, to rest, to be nurtured and sustained and belong (here online or in person in our building and everywhere in between).
This is the Resurrection Life: to know and accept our Home in God.
I know so many of us are tired of “being home” right now. Thanks be to God that we belong to a greater home with one another that is beyond and encompasses all of what we abide in each day. In the Resurrection Life: we share a good home with each other. Praise God! Amen.
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