New Testament

Heaven

John 14:1-3

If you asked a dozen people what they know about heaven, you’d probably get all sorts of answers. Even Christians have various ideas about what it is, where it’s located, and what it will be like. Some people imagine heaven to be an ethereal, dream-like place where the inhabitants are vaporous spirits—but this is contrary to what the Bible teaches.
Put simply, heaven is the home of God. Separate from and beyond creation, it’s an entirely different realm of existence. But it is a literal place with form and substance, and it contains the holy city. The apostle John had a vision of this place, and what he saw is recorded for us in chapters 21 and 22 of Revelation. A wall with foundation stones and gates surrounds the city, which has a street, a river, God’s throne, and the tree of life. All of these are material objects, although they far exceed anything of earthly substance.

Jesus told His disciples that He was going away to prepare a place for them in His Father’s house. He also said He’d return to take them there so they could be with Him forever. Then they watched as His resurrected body ascended from the earth and returned to heaven. He is still there today in His physical body, sitting at the right hand of the Father’s throne.

When Christ returns, He will resurrect Christians who have died, transform the bodies of believers who are still alive, and take us all back to the eternal home He has prepared for all His followers. Only then will we finally understand what heaven is.

John 14:1 Or Believe in God

 

Follow Jesus

Those who follow Jesus’ commandment entirely, who let Jesus’ yoke rest on them without resistance, will find the burden they must bear to be light. In the gentle pressure of this yoke they will receive the strength to walk the right path without becoming weary.…Where will the call to discipleship lead those who follow it? What decisions and painful separations will it entail? We must take this question to him who alone knows the answer. Only Jesus Christ, who bids us follow him, knows where the path will lead. But we know that it will be a path full of mercy beyond measure. Discipleship is joy.

Biblical Wisdom

Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28–30

Questions to Ponder

  • What is Jesus’ “commandment” that we are to follow? (See John 15:12)
  • If this commandment is Jesus’ “yoke,” how might we be changed if we bear it without resistance?
  • Why might following Jesus’ commandment lead to tough “decisions and painful separations”?

Psalm Fragment

Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long. Psalm 25:4–5

Journal Reflections

  • To be a disciple is not just to believe in Jesus, it is to follow Jesus. In your journal, reflect on the ways in which you are presently following Jesus.
  • Do you experience your discipleship as “joy”? Is the “burden” of your discipleship “light”?
  • Do you sense there are places Jesus might want to lead you where you would rather not go? If so, where are they and what is holding you back?

Intercessions

Pray specifically for family, friends, and colleagues that they might clearly hear the call to discipleship (which is the call to love and justice), and that they might experience following Jesus’ commandment as joy in the concrete realities of their lives.

Prayer for Today

Lord Jesus, only you know where my path will lead, but I trust that, even if I do not know either the way or the destination, you are with me and before me, and I follow you with joy.

Christian's Commentary

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