Part 3: Two ways of looking at things concerning death, the kingdom of God, and heaven.
9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.
So far, we have discussed the interpretation of Jesus’ intent as being one of individual “rescue” where Jesus comes and takes us to be with Him as we die. We have also discussed the possibility that He was talking about the coming of the Holy Spirit so that the Spirit of Jesus could live in each of us. The third interpretation is that He was talking about His resurrection. Let’s look at the timing of His statement:
- It’s Jesus’ last night with His disciples. In fact, the day of His crucifixion had started at sundown, so it was actually all the same day to them.
- He had told them that where He was going they could not come (John 13:33). Is it possible that He was talking about going to Hades and they couldn’t come because they were not going to die with Him? All of a sudden, His statements about coming to back them take on a Resurrection feel. They were a promise and a prediction at the same time.
- The offering of Jesus’ life on the cross was the purpose of His coming (John 12:27). The upcoming events were first and foremost on Jesus’ mind. His instructions were for the immediate future, so the natural flow of the conversation intimates an immediate return. We have this clue in 16:20, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy.” When we read in Luke 24:36-42 about Jesus’ appearance to the disciples after His resurrection, we get the distinct impression that they were weeping and lamenting. Jesus had to verify His own appearance by eating a piece of broiled fish. Then they rejoiced (John 20:20).
- Jesus had claimed that when the temple of His body was destroyed, that He would raise up a new temple in three days (John 2:19), which was a reference to His death, burial and resurrection. The temple had many rooms in it; the description sure sounds like what Jesus was talking about, “In my Father’s house are many rooms…”
Although I think that Jesus was specifically talking about His resurrection, the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and the individual “rescue” of each soul are still valid interpretations. Let us remember that we are trying to discern the thoughts of people 2,000+ years ago who lived in a different time and culture.
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Abba, thank You for Your Spirit who guides us into all truth. May we always turn to You for discernment. Open our eyes that we may see wonderful truths in Your Word. “Your Word is truth.” Amen.