Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What Is Heaven?

We’ve all heard funeral sermons on John 14:1-3. I myself have used that passage in dozens of funerals. Perhaps at a funeral, you heard the preacher say something like this: “Old Joe never had a mansion down here on Earth. But he’s living in a mansion now! And think about how long Jesus has been preparing that place. If the Master Carpenter has been working on Joe’s place for 2000 years, can we even imagine how nice it is?” I’ve heard some version of that countless times in my life; I’ve probably even said it at least once. And it is indeed very reassuring. But in recent years, I’ve realized that those sentiments reflect an inaccurate picture of what Heaven is. First of all, the word John uses doesn’t mean “mansion.” It’s the Greek word monai, which simply means “a place to stay.” Jesus is just telling His disciples, “My Dad has a house so big, there’s a room just for you. And I’ll make sure it’s ready for you when you get there.” But more importantly, it ignores these words: I will come again. According to the Bible, if old Joe was a believer in Jesus, he is indeed in a wonderful place right now. But he’s not home. Not yet.

So what is "home" for those of us who follow Jesus? If we don't get there when we die, when will we finally arrive? And what will it be like there? Those are the questions we'll address this Sunday in our message, "What Is Heaven?" Please be praying for this sermon series. There will be an ad about the series in this Saturday's Chronicle religion section. We've been handing our flyers to parents who use our Day School, Child Care and Mother's Day Out, and I even took a stack to the YMCA this week when I worked out. Hopefully we'll see plenty of new people this Sunday and in the weeks to come. Hopefully some of them will be friends, neighbors and co-workers you've invited. Let's pray and see what God does.

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