Jesus, the world’s most influential religious leader, talked at length about Heaven. That should come as no surprise. Neither is it surprising that he had rather unconventional things to say about Heaven.
By now you have probably figured out that whatever the major theological emphasis in religion was, Jesus would somehow connect himself to it. Heaven was no exception. Jesus affirmed the idea of a spiritual place where God’s people would spend eternity. But Jesus went much further with his view of Heaven.
To Jesus, Heaven was being with him. It was unencumbered fellowship and interaction with him in the realm where he was most at home — God’s unrestricted presence.
In the hours before his arrest, Jesus gave some important final instructions to his remaining disciples. The teaching is found in John, chapters 13-16, and it is known among Bible scholars as the Farewell Discourse. In it, Jesus used the promise of Heaven to comfort his followers in the face of all that was to come.
He said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:1–3).
This is one of the most popular and frequently used biblical texts at funerals, and it is easy to see why. Let me sum up what Jesus said here about Heaven:
- It is real; it really does exist.
- Its reality should help keep our hearts from being troubled.
- It is the place where his Father (God) lives; it is his Father’s house.
- It is large and roomy, and it has many individual rooms for guests. You will never find a No Vacancy sign out front.
- Jesus is Heaven’s advance man; he is there right now getting your room ready for your special arrival.
- Jesus is Heaven’s chauffeur. When it is time, he will come and personally escort you to your new home.
- Jesus is Heaven’s main attraction. Heaven, to Jesus, is all about getting to be with him on his home turf.
- You can believe everything that Jesus says about Heaven, because trusting him is the same as trusting God.
Intrigued? If I walked up to you and started boasting about my access to and rank in such places as the White House, NASA’s mission control, or the strategic defense bunkers buried in the hills outside of Colorado Springs, you would probably think that I had fallen off my bike a few times too many.
Well, that is basically what Jesus did; only the place he claimed to have access to was none other than God’s living room.
To Jesus, not only are you incomplete without Heaven, but Heaven is also equally incomplete without you. So much so that not only did God send his Son to die for the sins that would keep you out of Heaven; but when you believe in Jesus, and when it is time for your life in Heaven to begin, God will also send Jesus to earth to personally collect your living soul and see you safely to his Father’s house.
From A Man Who Told Us the Truth, Chapter 7, Heaven’s Chauffeur–The Truth about Death and Heaven.