If It Were Not So
I have always been intrigued by something Jesus said in his upper room discourse found in John 13-16. In chapter 14 he says;
John 14:2 “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
There are two wonderful realities here that are easy to see. First, the Father has a special place where he and his people will dwell together. Second, Jesus is making special arrangements in his Father’s house for us and our blessing. But what about that middle statement “if it were not so”? That in-between statement is unexpected. Why put it in the negative? Why state it at all, since it is a reality that does not exist? As I have thought over this, I have at least one possible answer. If I am right on this, it makes everything even more indescribably wonderful.
Jesus is discussing what is true and what is in store for his disciples. As already stated, this is wonderful stuff. In fact, perhaps we are tempted to think this is too wonderful. “Too good to be true” is the warning bell that can start clanging in our minds. To head this off at the pass Jesus throws in one more reality framed as a conditional clause. That reality is that Jesus will tell them what is true. What is the truth he will tell them when it comes to our heavenly destiny? It is that Jesus will not withhold from them any deficiency or disparaging reality about what is to come. If there is a deficiency in what is coming, Jesus will tell them. If there are not really enough rooms for everyone and some will have to share a bunkbed, Jesus will tell them. If there is some lack, some second-rate issue, some shortage of glory and provision Jesus is going to tell them.
But Jesus doesn’t have to. Why? Because it is all true. There is no deficiency in what is coming. There is nothing mediocre, nothing that can fail or diminish, and nothing that will underwhelm. This is the one reality that you can’t oversell and under deliver. There is no danger of our expectations getting too high only to be dashed by a letdown. The only real danger is that our expectations are not high enough. The depictions of heaven that you see in the comics are the sad caricatures that exist in most people’s mind; fluffy clouds, golden harps, and people eternally bored out of their gourds. But Jesus promises that what he is preparing is something that we cannot conceive, yet it is so true we should order our lives accordingly. As 1 Corinthians 2:9 says:
but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”