Do you remember when Jesus’ disciples asked him where he lived? (See John 1:38) It was a loaded question. They really wanted to know Jesus’ point of origin and what he called home. The first element in reflecting Jesus’ image is to understand that his home was with the Father. (See John 8:14–29; 12:44–50)
Jesus talked a great deal about his mission on earth, but as he drew closer to the completion of that mission, he spoke often of returning to the Father, from whom he had come. (See John 13:3) Jesus told the disciples that he had prepared a place so that where he was, they—and we—could also be. (See John 14:2–4) This simple description of being at home with God is the ultimate destiny of the follower of Jesus Christ.
In a mobile society like ours, where economic standing is paramount, home has become a very transient thing. We move from house to house, city to city, and never stay long enough anywhere to call it home. Home becomes where the job is; and the heart, in effect, becomes homeless. For more than three decades now, I have been an itinerant man, traveling across this globe. I have seen so much, enjoyed so much, been rewarded so much, and been befriended by so many. … But nothing—and I mean nothing—thrills my heart more than when a successful trip nears its end and the day comes to pack my bags and head to the airport. That means I’m going home. What is it about home that makes me feel this way? It is the one place in the world where I can be myself and be accepted for who I am.
I wish I had been a better father and husband. If I had to do it all over again, I would change some things I did or said. But as much as I regret my foibles and blunders, they have never been held against me. Home is where I wake up and don’t need to look perfect in order for my wife to say, “I love you”…
Home means the care and honor given to us while we are unadorned and spent. Home is where I am loved just for who I am, not for my name or how I preach or what books I have written—but just for being me. This is why I believe our Lord describes our presence with him in heaven as knowing him, even as we are known. (See 1 Corinthians 13:12) God knows us in our weaknesses; we will know him in his transcendent majesty. He has always known us for who we really are; yet he calls us his children and his friends. And finally, when all is said and done, he calls us home to be with him. We will be at home with God! That’s my destiny. (See Revelation 21:3)
Jesus came from the Father and returned to the Father to prepare a place for you and for me. That’s home. That is our eternal dwelling. We cherish the tender metaphor of home because there we will unpack our suitcases for the last time.
I am a stranger here
I am a stranger here, within a foreign land,
My home is far away, upon that golden strand!
Ambassador to be, of realms beyond the sea,
I’m here on business for my King.
–Elijah Cassel, 1902
I don’t think I ever felt at home in this world! From the time I was a little boy I always felt like a stranger, always. About the closest thing you could find to heaven was home or church.
Jesus left His home to come to this foreign country. We used to sing a song:
Out of the ivory palaces, into this world of woe,
Only His great eternal love, made my Savior go.
–Henry Barraclough, 1915
He left His ivory palaces—they weren’t even just ivory, they were golden. He was at home in heaven and yet He was willing to come down here. The Lord dwelt there with His Father God and the Holy Spirit, and He was willing to leave that beautiful home to come down to make this broken world His temporary home. Think of that!
It says that He was tempted and tested in all things like as we are. (Hebrews 4:15) How could He have been tested and tempted in all things like as we are unless He’d been sick and suffered, and longed for heaven and home? And how could He have been the High Priest who could truly represent us, understand us, and have compassion on us, unless He had suffered these same things? He never could have understood us if He hadn’t experienced grief and pain, suffering and temptation, “and yet without sin.”
Our calling as Christians is as “ambassadors to be, of realms beyond the sea.” We are, in other words, supposed to be God’s ambassadors of heaven. That’s our country, and we’re ambassadors of heaven in this strange country of this world, which is not our final home. We’re just passing through to our better and eternal home.
—David Brandt Berg
An eternal home for the soul
“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.”
—Hebrews 13:14 NLT
In some ways, Christians are homeless. Our true home is waiting for us, prepared by the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Bible takes the word home with all its tender associations and sacred memories, and applies it to the hereafter and tells us that heaven is home.
The Lord Jesus Christ is preparing a home fit for all who live for Him, a place designed for the church triumphant. Let’s exemplify the work of His hands, for they are busy, on our behalf, building a city large enough to encompass His people of faith—an eternal home for the soul.
Not of this world
What exactly does it mean that Christians are “not of this world”? The phrase comes from John 18:36, where Jesus says that His kingdom is “not of this world.” As His followers, Christians are members of His kingdom which is “not of this world”; that is, heaven. (Philippians 3:20) Yes, we are on earth for now, but our earthly lives are nothing but a vapor. (James 4:14) But eternity, now that is a long time, and that is where a Christian’s focus should really be. (1 Peter 5:10)
The knowledge that we are not of this world gives Christians hope even in the darkest times; (1 Peter 1:6–9) hope that this will pass and at the end of it we will be in heaven with our God, face to face forever. (Revelation 21:3–4) This cracked and broken place is not where we belong, and it is not where we will stay.
Christians are not of this world. We have been adopted as heirs of heaven by God Himself, and that is our world, our citizenship. (Titus 3:7) And in the meanwhile we wait, (2 Corinthians 5:2) and we hope, (Romans 5:5) and we do what we can to bring others into the “not of this world” relationship with Jesus Christ. But this world is not our home, and never will be.
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