Our community: one of fastest growing in state. Not only population, number of new construction starts also. Neighboring communities experiencing similar – single-family dwellings, multi-family units, many rented before completion. Might think homelessness be decreasing, evidence seems to say otherwise.
“two years ago , more than 2,500 public school students in the state were reported as homeless or displaced. [30% increase over 2015] …Many of these youth are facing significant issues: domestic violence, substance abuse in the family, foster care, parents who’ve passed away and more.” “They are moving into shelters, couch surfing with other families and, in rare cases, camping or living in cars.” (https://www.mainepublic.org/programs/finding-way)
I challenge you to think beyond stereotypical homelessness box for few minutes. We call it homelessness, refer to home-owners and home-ownership, yet
“A house is not a home. It is but a pile of sticks. …Our hearts dwell in our homes… The difference is that we can inhabit a house or its cousins—apartment, trailer, hotel room—and not be remotely at home.” Gregory McNamee
Some things must be true about a house in order for it to be a home – way more than having people and stuff inside. According to McNamee, “Linguists have long remarked that the English idea of home has no true equivalents, even within cognate languages”. No other known word fully captures meaning and essence of “home” as we typically understand and use it.
Poet Robert Frost said this:
‘Home is the place where, when you have to go there, They have to take you in. I should have called it Something you somehow haven’t to deserve.’ The Death of the Hired Man
On night when Lord Jesus was betrayed, eating final Passover meal with disciples, gave us insight into some of what can make place a home.
gathered together with friends… and one enemy, in close intimate fellowship around most significant meal in Jewish culture
something families had done by God’s instruction for 1400 years – if numbers were small, families joined together to make up group
gave them powerful example of gracious hosting, serving others – did it on purpose: that they should do just as he had done
service to one another, sharing with one another, conversation around and across the table, most importantly love for one another
(13:34) “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
That “mandate”, where we get name for this day “Maundy Thursday”, immediately followed statement by Lord Jesus that was hard for disciples to grasp:
“Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you.”
Seems like even though Jesus kept talking, Peter stopped listening. As soon as Jesus stopped for breath, Peter asked “Where are you going?” (John 13:36), Jesus responded with short answer, then fuller explanation by telling them he was going home, to make the place a home for them.
“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 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.”
A. plentiful – many mansions/rooms v.2a
no shortage of rooms
picture Jesus and rest of NT gives: a huge home, beyond what we can really imagine, countless rooms for family, not guests
no one sleeping in halls or stairways, cardboard shelters – will be proper accommodations for every person Jesus brings to live there
intended from beginning for many people – stars of heaven, sand of seashore
description of people of God as least among nations only refers to beginnings – God’s intention that end result be family of immense number
will be place of beauty – compare w/Notre Dame
don’t know exactly how it is designed but do know this: will be more grand and glorious and beautiful than anything ever seen
no disfiguring of sin or the curse on anything there – will display glory and beauty that exceeds even original creation
B. prepared – I go to prepare a place v.2b
making a house a home
notice imagery Jesus used for his disciples: “In My Father’s house are many rooms” – spoke as though house already in existence
Jesus’ task after resurrection to go to that house, finish whatever necessary to make it into a home – place we can be attached to, have total security, surrounded by what we love
getting ready for family – Rom. 8:29
God’s eternal plan has family as integral part – “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
Jesus not making place ready for servants, subjects, citizens – is preparing it for his family, brothers and sisters by adoption
C. promised – if I go… I will come again v.3a
Jesus won’t leave his family to find their own way
didn’t want there to be any misunderstanding – leaving his followers did not equal abandoning them – again, idea of family, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”
Jesus not scam artist – make promise, then disappear
happens far too often, take the money and run – Jesus’ guarantee he won’t do that… he will come back, and will take us there
Jesus our royal escort providing safe passage
more than wanting his followers to be in heaven, Jesus wants them to be with him… does all necessary to bring that about
D. purchased – I am the way v.6
often focus on Jesus as “exclusive way”
not often popular message, but is necessary – Jesus the only one who can take someone safely into God’s very presence
mustn’t lose sight of destination – the Father…
this what makes it our real home: the Father present with the Son and the rest of the family – that enough to make any place a home!
and the place – has no mortgage
Jesus looking through his suffering and death and resurrection to what he would purchase by his life for his people
no remaining debt for family members to satisfy, no rental or lease agreements, no homeowner’s association fees
Is the Father’s home, the Son’s home, the true and final home of all God’s family… with all the comforts belonging to that kind of home. Is the home Lord Jesus gave his very life to purchase on our behalf, the one he is now working to fill with family members.
Robert Frost said home is “something you somehow haven’t to deserve”. This home that awaits us is one we cannot ever deserve. Only because the Father loved us and sent his Son who loved us and died for us and purchased that home for us can we enjoy it.