If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, you may be also.
We often do not like conditional statements, the whole if … then … pairing. But there is a great deal of comfort that can be derived from some conditional statements. This morning’s verse is one such.
If I go and prepare a place for you. In order for there to be a place for me, Jesus must prepare it. And He is not, it would seem, preparing places for everyone. This is an if statement. This is the condition. In order for what follows to be true, this must be true first. Is Jesus preparing a place for me? The answer, if I have trusted Him to save me, is yes. When the if condition is met, there are certain results that I can expect.
First, I can expect that He will come again and receive [me] to [Himself].We have this tradition in weddings of a receiving line. I sometimes wonder if there is a subtext there that we are missing. This morning is one such time. Jesus says that He will receive me. The word used can definitely mean receive, but it can also mean something that communicates the thought more clearly to an English-speaking mind, I think — viz., to take to; to take with one’s self; to join to one’s self. The idea here is not merely of me being put into His hands like goods He has bought (though that metaphor holds), but of something richer; of Him making me His companion; His associate; His friend. What has been as true as it could be at a distance becomes intimately and viscerally real.
Second, I can expect that where [He is], [I] may be. I will finally have permission and the ability to be where He is. No longer will the relationship be strained by the lack of His physical presence — a strain that is all too familiar to those who have had to maintain a relationship over long distances — but will be solidified; will be cemented by His physical presence. Not only will He take me as friend and companion and associate, but He will give me access to Himself wherever He is. I will finally be able to sit with Him and talk with Him in person and share a cup of something while I ask the questions that fuddle my mind.
Both of those amazing promises are predicated on Him going to prepare a place for me. Therein is the comfort of the conditional.