Discovering the Hope of Home in the Power of the Cross
Most of us have experienced a feeling of homelessness at one time or another.
Perhaps we remember a time as a kid when home didn't feel like home. Maybe we were in the angst of our teenage years, and we didn't feel understood.
Maybe we had to keep moving. There was constant packing and unpacking. We were never able to settle in.
Perhaps our parents are just a memory. They are gone, and our childhood home doesn't exist anymore. Or maybe a divorce robbed us of what was always home.
I'm grateful that home is a part of the resurrection story. Jesus had many parting words for his disciples, but among them were words of home. Here are a few of them from the Amplified version of John 14:1-3.
"Do not let your hearts be troubled (distressed, agitated). You believe in (and adhere to and trust in and rely on) God; believe in (and adhere to and trust in and rely also on) Me.
In My Father's house there are many dwelling places (homes). If it were not so, I would have told you; for I am going away to prepare a place for you.
And when I go and make ready a place for you, I will come back again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also."
Resurrection for the believer is about life over death. But it's also about knowing we have a home. Home is so much more than building, isn't it?
It's a place of refuge. A sanctuary. It's a safe place we can go.
It's a place of authenticity. The moment we walk in its doors, our shoulders can drop. We can breathe. We don't have to put on any pretense. We get to just be.
It's a place where we are known. Truly known. This is where we get to burp out loud, drool on our pillows while we nap, and grab morning coffee while sporting a nasty case of bedhead. We get to be our very inglorious selves.
It's a place of total acceptance. We get to be all those crazy, less than desirable things, but we know we are loved when we're home.
Home sounds like a tall order. We could all exchange stories about events or chapters in which the home we grew up in or the home we've tried to create hasn't always risen to the occasion.
That's OK. God knows we're broken. But home IS in our DNA. Scripture says that He has put eternity in our hearts. So we can't help but know that home is real. Home exists. And home the way it's supposed to be is good, very good.
The cross is the door by which we enter eternal life. But it is also the door by which we enter home.
First Corinthians 2:9 says that "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him."
The book of Revelation gives us glimpses. Here are a few brief excerpts from Chapter 21.
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared."
"And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband."
"I heard a loud shout from the throne saying, "Look, God's home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. "
John Piper has said that "the hardship we face in this life makes the promise of the reality of the New Earth even more beautiful.”
Death, sorrow, tears, pain...
Every unrealized dream or unmet expectation…
Every challenge that plagues our day-to-day lives will be forever gone.
We have reason to hope.
Our world, bodies, and way of life will be completely renewed.
Even though we don't have a complete picture of what it will be like when Christ returns, we have glimpses. These pieces tell us that what we have to look forward to will be extraordinary… remarkable…sensational.
Life and death are so opposite, and yet they are intertwined. Last week we unpacked the beautiful metaphor of a Jewish kittle. The white, sacred garment can serve as a burial gown and wedding attire. Imagining a white burial gown transformed into a white wedding gown brings satisfaction to my soul.
Again, from the book of Revelation:
Then one of the seven angels said to me… "Come with me! I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb."
"… he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God and sparkled like a precious stone–– like jasper as clear as crystal…and the city was pure gold, as clear as glass."
"And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is it light."
"Its gates will never be closed at the end of the day because there is no night there."
Rick Warren said, "The only ultimate disaster that can befall us is to feel ourselves to be at home on earth." Paul put it another way in the book of Romans. May we––
"Groan as in the pains of childbirth… as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope, we were saved…."
Would you pray with me?