Summary: By following the commands of God, we are truly living with Christ.
Grace and mercy be unto you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
In Old Testament times, Moses, the Patriarchs and the rest of the Jews looked toward a specific part of a tent as the living place for God. Blood was shed in this Tent of Meeting in the form sacrifices dedicated to the God of their forefathers. Smoke and incense, and the first fruits of both the flocks and the farms were given both in honor of God and as atonement for sins. It even housed the Arc of the Covenant and the tablets containing the Ten Commandments. This was where God dwelled with the people.
When David became king, he decided to take this mobile temple and make a permanent home dedicated to God. He was not allowed that honor, but his son Solomon built an impressive structure of imported woods, stone and precious metals. Part of this temple still stands today, often called the wailing wall in Jerusalem. In Solomon’s temple, an inner room of that structure was called The Holy of Holies. It was seen as the dwelling place for God. It was here that the High Priest would offer sacrifices in the presence of God, but only during specific times of the year. God lived here, but was not accessible to the common man.
It wasn’t until the coming of the Christ Himself that the location of God began to be looked at differently. Upon the death of the messiah, the temple curtain separating men from God was torn in two from floor to ceiling. This was a visual clue to what had happened. Through the death of Jesus on the cross, we were brought closer to God.
This morning, we are here in a church. Often called the House of God, this building is an extension of His presence. He doesn’t live in the altar, or the narthex or the sanctuary. But, we feel more connected with Him here than in other buildings. Just as with the great Temple in Jerusalem, we look to this structure as an abiding place for God. But, God and His church are not confined to a simple building.
In John 14:23, Jesus is asked a question by one of the disciples. Judas asked why Jesus chose to reveal Himself to the disciplines, but not to the rest of the world. This question is not one of any earthly nature alone, but filled with awe at the Lord in their presence. This is asking why God has revealed himself to but a few chosen men. He spoke to them time and time again and explained things that others only hoped to know. But, others were not chosen for this task. The twelve were chosen. At first glance, Jesus seems to avoid the question and talk about where God lives instead. However, You have to understand what has transcribed here to really appreciate what’s going on.
This moment is looking towards the last days of Jesus’ ministry. The disciples have been by His side for quite some time now. They’ve been right by His side as He gave sight to the blind, fed a multitude of 5,000 with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish and even raised the dead, among other miracles. The disciples have been witnesses to the miracles, the trials and the triumphs of Jesus’ ministry. The disciples have had parables explained to them by the master Himself. Yet, they also noticed that others would not be blessed with the same knowledge or being this close to the messiah
They still did not truly understand what Jesus was there for. They still were looking forward to an earthly kingdom and likely expected to have some place of honor in a kingdom that would never come. They had even discussed who was greater among themselves, quarreling about what we now see as a trivial, earthly conversation. Here, these amazing men who saw the Jesus’ ministry unfold before them, who were actively involved in the spreading of Jesus message, they just didn’t get it.
So Jesus tries to explain things to these men and prepare them for the coming events and the trials they would face.
Jesus said “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24“He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.
Love, obedience, love. Jesus sets up the following verses, but all follow the same theme. Love, obedience, and love.
Jesus was preparing his followers for His death. He knew that it would come soon, but the disciples were not yet ready. He had to explain to them what was going to happen, but in a way that they would be able to understand after His death. He had a question to answer, but as in so many other cases, the answer was not always what was expected.