Friday, February 5, 2010

Heaven Is Where Jesus Is

This week I was listening to Pastor David Jeremiah on WEZE radio as he began a series called “Discovering the Mysteries of Heaven.” He said he felt compelled to preach on this topic because even though heaven is referenced many times during sermons and within the Bible he felt many people still do not have a clear understanding of what heaven actually is and what Christians will be doing there throughout eternity. You can listen to the series by going to his Website and clicking on the Radio tab.

What I wanted to discuss here was a principle that Pastor Jeremiah shared yesterday during his second sermon on heaven. He had said that throughout all his study on the topic there was one Spiritual truth that was woven throughout all the Scriptures. As he shared this principle he began to cry as he said it was impossible for him to share it without emotion. What he went on to say really touched me and I hope it will bless you as well.

He said that heaven is where Jesus is. Heaven is where Jesus is. On the surface this appears to be a simple truth but when you really comtemplate it and realize that we will be with Jesus forever, it may be the most glorious truth in all of the Bible.

He went on to say that the Scriptures speak more of the person of Jesus in relation to heaven than the place itself. For example, in John 14:2-3 Jesus states, “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 to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” It is interesting to notice that Jesus never talks about the place of heaven in specifics in this passage other than the mansions but he does emphasize that He will come to get his followers at the time of their death and take them to be with Him.

This same thought is echoed again by Jesus in the gospel of Luke as he tells the thief on the cross who had just recognized Jesus as Savior, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

The Apostle Paul also speaks about being with Jesus after death in his second letter to the Corinthian church, “We walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5: 7-8) Paul again speaks about his life with Christ after death in his letter to the Christians at the church of Philippi, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. (Philippians 1:21-23) Paul rarely, if ever, talks about the physical aspects of heaven throughout his epistles. His focus is always on leaving this world and being with the Lord. For Him, the thought of just being with the Lord was heaven.

Over this past year, I have come to acutely understand this marvelous reality that heaven is where Jesus is. Previously in my Christian life, I used to focus on the place of heaven, imagining the many mansions, the streets of gold, the pearly gates. I also used to ponder living life without disease, sorrow or the fear of death. While all of these things are wonderful aspects of heaven, the quintessential truth that trumps them all is the thought of being with Jesus – simply being with the Savior in a glorified body, free of government, free of sin, and most of all free to worship the King of Kings, the Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace throughout all eternity. Wherever Jesus is, is good enough for me.

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