By H. A. Ironside
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 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 unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:1-6)
In these verses, two outstanding truths are emphasized: first, that of the Father’s house, and second, our Lord’s personal return for His own. The Lord Jesus had been giving His last messages to His disciples. He had intimated that soon they would forsake Him and flee. He had told them He was going away, and for the present, they could not come where He was to go. And in verse thirty-six of chapter thirteen we read:
Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.
He was going, you see, to the Father’s house. He was going home to God by way of the Cross and resurrection, and Peter could not follow immediately. But the Lord says, “Thou shalt follow Me afterwards.” Peter did not understand that, and he said to Him, “Lord, why cannot I follow Thee now? I will lay down my life for Thy sake” (John 13:37).
Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for My sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow till thou hast denied Me thrice. (John 13:38)
And then He immediately adds, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.” You see, the Lord Jesus is addressing these words, of course, to all His disciples, but directly to the disciple who was to deny Him in so short a time. And this is surely very comforting for our hearts. Peter was to fail the Lord—Jesus knew he would fail—but deep in Peter’s heart, there was a fervent love for the Lord Jesus. And when he said, “I will lay down my life for Thy sake,” he meant every word of it. But he did not realize how untrustworthy his own heart was. It was a case of the spirit being willing, but the flesh weak. And Jesus knew something of the fearful discouragement that would roll over the soul of Peter when he awoke to the realization of the fact that he had been so utterly faithless in the hour of his Master’s need.
In the very time that Jesus needed someone to stand up for Him and to say boldly, “Yes, I am one of His, and I can bear witness to the purity of His life and to the goodness of His ways”—at that time, Peter, frightened by the soldiers gathered about, denied any knowledge of his Savior. And, oh, the days and nights that would follow, as he would feel that surely he must be utterly cast off, surely the Lord could never put any trust in him again! But if he remembered these words, what a comfort they must have brought to his poor aching heart! For Jesus is practically saying, “I know all about it, Peter. I know how you are going to fail, but I want you to know this; in My Father’s house are many mansions, and you are going to share one of those mansions with Me some day. I am not going to permit you, Peter, to be utterly overcome. I am not going to permit you to go into complete apostasy. You will fall, but you will be lifted up again, and you will share with Me a place in the many mansions.”
When He says, “Let not your heart be troubled,” He does not mean, “Do not be exercised about your failure,” for He Himself sought to exercise the heart of Peter, and in a wonderful way restored him by the Sea of Galilee later on. But He means this, “Do not be cast down. Do not allow the enemy of your soul to make you feel there is no further hope, there is no opportunity for you.”
I wonder if I am speaking to someone today who has failed, perhaps, as Peter failed. Under the stress of circumstances you, too, have denied your Lord, denied Him in acts if not in words, and the adversary of your soul is saying to you now, “It is all up with you; your case is hopeless. You knew Christ once, but you have failed so miserably, He would never own you again.” Oh, let me assure you His interest in you is just as deep as it ever was. If you have truly trusted Him as your Savior, the fact that you failed so grievously, and the fact that you mourn over it, only emphasizes the truth that you belong to Him. Still He says, “[Return], O backsliding children, [unto Me]; for I am married unto you” (Jeremiah 3:14)—not, “I am divorced from you.” And therefore He waits for you to come back and confess your failure and your sin, and He has promised complete restoration, for, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). And some day for you, too, there will be a place in the Father’s house.
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.” You see, in the days gone by before Jesus came to them at all, the people of Israel did have faith in the one true and living God. Now they had never seen Him, and Jesus is saying to His disciples, “You have believed in God when you couldn’t see Him, now I am going away in a little while and you won’t be able to see Me, but I want you to trust Me just the same as when I was here. Just as you have believed in the unseen God through the years, I want you to put your faith in Me, the unseen Christ, after I have gone back to the Father.” Do we have that implicit trust and confidence in Him, realizing that He is deeply interested in every detail of our own lives? The Word says, “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7). There is absolutely nothing that concerns His people about which He Himself is not concerned. And therefore, He would have us put away all the stress and all the anxiety. He says, “Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6). “Ye believe in God, believe also in Me.”
And then He adds, “In My Father’s house are many mansions.” “My Father’s house,” and by that of course He means Heaven, and He is speaking of a place, a place to which He was going, and a place into which some day He will take all His own. I often hear people say, “Heaven is a condition rather than a place.” Heaven is both a place and a condition. It is true we do not read a great deal about Heaven in the Bible. Somebody has said, “Heaven is the land of no more.” We have more in the Bible about what will not be in Heaven than about what will be there.
Remember in the book of Revelation, we read that there will be no more sin, there will be no more tears, there will be no more pain, there will be no more sorrow, there will be no more curse, there will be no more darkness, there will be no more distress of any kind in the Father’s house. The Father’s house is the place where Christ is, and that is the place to which the redeemed are going.
Some of you may have thought the expression here, “In My Father’s house are many mansions,” is rather peculiar. Somehow or other, the word mansion to most of us in the United States has an accustomed meaning that it did not originally have. When we see a great building, we call that a mansion. But the word as originally used did not have that meaning at all. It had rather the meaning of an apartment, as we use that word today, a splendid apartment. So one building might have many mansions in it. And Jesus is telling us, “In My Father’s house are many apartments, many resting-places.” There is a place, an individual place, for every one of His own, all in that Father’s house.
“If it were not so, I would have told you.” What does He mean by that? The Jews had had a belief in a heaven of bliss after death, and Jesus said, “If you had been wrong in that, I would have corrected you.” But because He didn’t correct it but rather affirmed it, we know that it is true, that there is a glorious home beyond the skies for the redeemed which we shall share with Him by-and-by.
Dr. Ironside’s writings are in the public domain. Lighthouse Trails publishes several of his materials. To visit his website, click here.