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“On our way home” – Divine Service from Community 2018 Edition 2

John 14:3-4, And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.

When Jesus spoke these words He was together with His disciples, telling them what was about to happen to Him: betrayal, suffering, distress. The disciples were beside themselves, but Jesus expanded their perspective. He told them that He was going to His Father. That was the purpose, the Chief Apostle explained: “He wanted them to know the end of the story.”

This is also true for us. “We know that we have to go through hardship, we know that we have to carry heavy burdens.” But God does not lead us into tribulation or into hardship. In fact, He wants to lead us out of tribulation and hardship and into His kingdom. “Let us have this broader perspective, let us see further through the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus went to prepare a place for us. What kind of a place is this? The place where man should have been in the first place. God created human beings because He wanted them to live with Him, to have fellowship with Him. But by falling into sin, they lost the privilege of living with God.

The Chief Apostle pointed out that Jesus came to prepare this place again: “Through His sacrificial death and His resurrection He made it possible for human beings to enter into the kingdom of God.” This place has been ready for a long time. “Everything is ready. Each and every one of us has a place in heaven. It’s there, ready and waiting for us.”

The way there is clear. “I am the way,” Jesus said. “Let us take this way,” the Chief Apostle said. His way is one of

  • faith. “I am the kind of guy who wants to understand, who needs proof. And when it is clear in my mind I’m okay. But when it comes to Jesus and His work and His deeds, I have to come to terms with the fact that I cannot understand it. Let us follow the path in faith.”
  • the sacraments. Whoever wants to enter the kingdom of God must be reborn of water and Spirit. And whoever wants to be caught up must partake of the flesh and blood of Jesus. “This is not an invention by the Church. It was defined by Jesus Himself.”
  • obedience. “Whoever wants to follow Jesus must keep His commandments. Let us stay on this way even if it is difficult. It is the only way, the one paved by Jesus.”
  • self-denial. “Jesus Christ wants more than just obedient people. He wants us to be transformed into His image so that His thoughts become our thoughts. Are we still on the way of transformation?”
  • oneness. “We must learn to become one in Christ because He will not return to take individuals unto Himself. He will come and take home a people that is one.”

“It is not enough to just stay on this way. We must move forward,” the Chief Apostle said in conclusion. “Jesus will return. He will come and meet us because He knows that we will not be able to make it by ourselves. And if I pray: ‘Lord Jesus, please come!’ then I can hear His answer in my soul: ‘Yes, I am coming, but you have to come too. Don’t stop, keep moving on this path.’”

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