Right before I spent a summer in Russia in 2009, I read a scripture from Hebrews 11:13-16, that speaks of the promises of God, being a wanderer on the earth and seeking a homeland better than a country, a desire which is satisfied in the city of God. Since that summer, my definition of home has become fluid, if not murky and inconclusive. I can relate to the longing described in those few verses in Hebrews. Like those motivated by faith, I know that this “home” Scripture speaks of is not a place I can return to, otherwise I’d go back to it, and while I am not quite sure what it is; I know it is something better than a place I go to sleep at night.
Jesus says in John 14:2-3, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” Jesus goes on to tell his disciples, that the only way to get there is through Him. Jesus himself takes his people home. This home, however, is not a big spacious mansion for you to live in alone or with the family members you liked the most here on earth.
While Revelation 21 does give us some indication of the craftsmanship of the city of God, the purpose of this home is not isolated or exclusive to those we have the most in common with. In fact, the city of God invites us to quite the opposite. To Jesus, home is the gathering of all His people together including those who we may scarcely relate to outside of a mutual love for Jesus. He invites the IRS and the prostitutes (Matthew 21:31). If you relate all too well to those individuals, he invites the poor and immobile (Luke 14:21), he even invites the wealthy next generation leader (Matthew 19:20-24). Jesus prepares the place, extends the invitation, and is the avenue to Heaven through faith in his death and resurrection, demonstrated by our fully surrendered life.
It’s odd that Jesus says He prepares this place so that “where He is, we would be also.” If that is the case: why leave, Jesus? He leaves because what we have here and now is not the full extent of His or our home. He leaves us here with His Holy Spirit to prepare us for our home by making us holy while inviting others to a reconciled relationship with God. He wants us to become a hospitable people, learning to love the lowly and our enemies with the awareness that they were created to share in our home. If home is where the heart is, and where our treasure is, there our hearts will be also, then the human heart is most at home when our treasure is in Christ.