Updated: Jan 26
I remember back in the mid-90’s there was a song “One of Us,” which asked the question, “What if God was one of us?”
The Gospel reading from John 14 gives the lyrics of that song merit. While it is probable that Joan Osborne was questioning Christianity in her song, the questioning of religion is not the same thing as questioning God. After all, the chorus sang, “Yeah, yeah, God is great. Yeah, yeah. God is good.”
The problem with Christianity is its lack of wanting to discern what is said in the Holy Bible. Christians today – beginning soon after Emperor Constantine reformed the Roman Empire as the “Holy” Roman Empire – love the concept of ‘do nothing and reap the all the benefits’ religion. Unlike Jews, Christians are not taught to read the holy documents in the original language they were written. American Christians let someone read an English translation of selected pieces of Scripture, but very little discussion takes place about what the words read aloud mean. Jews discuss the words in the Torah, but since they had the Romans kill Jesus and didn’t treat his Apostles any better, they know little more than how to read Hebrew.
American Christians do not learn Hebrew, or Greek, or even Latin (for the most part). Some know the King James English version of translation, but most tend to learn other variations, such as the New International Version (NIV), the English Standard Version (ESV), or the New American Standard Bible (NASB). While many Christians have put in the effort to memorize certain verses, in different translations, there is no consensus standard of the meaning of Scripture.
Most American Christians learn Bible stories as children. Their parents dressed them up and made them go, mostly because their parents did the same to them. The result is American Christian children grow into American Christian adults who hear Scripture with childish brains. That is because the parents rarely went to Bible studies after they became adults. Even the ones preaching about Scripture are writing sermons with the same lack of true understanding of Scriptural meaning, because seminaries do not fill one with the Holy Spirit … and they certainly do not teach the meaning of God’s Word. They just teach dogma and ritual, church history and liturgy, Latin and Greek, Old Testament and New Testament facts and figures, theology and ministry, and homiletics; but they do not teach Bible Studies. Therefore, this Gospel reading from John 14 becomes a reflection of Jesus speaking to everyone in a Christian church on the Fifth Sunday of Easter, from pulpit to pews.
See note at end.
In John’s Gospel, the setting needs to be understood. The Seder meal has ended. Judas has left to betray Jesus; and the rest of the menfolk are ritually getting drunk on Seder wine. John, being ‘under age’, is drinking non-fermented juice. That makes John the sober brain that could recall the words spoken by Jesus this evening. Jesus had already said, “I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29, Luke 22:18), so Jesus was clear-headed. All the other adult male disciples were lounging about drinking wine and trying to stay awake as long as possible (the Jewish ritual of the Seder meal). Therefore, disciples like Thomas and Philip were not as stupid as they seem, as John recalled, as they were simply three sheets to the wind [a nautical saying that fishermen would know].
It is good to remind oneself that this conversation between Jesus and his disciples is valid at all times, to all disciples of Jesus. American Christians today are the replacements for Thomas and Philip. The people in the pews and the people at the lecterns are all just as ignorant about what Jesus said, way back when. The Jewish disciples, who were fluent in Aramaic and Hebrew, are just like the followers today, who are fluent in what is being read aloud in churches. The statements by Thomas and Philip, about where Jesus was going and where his father’s house was, are the same failure to communicate then as is commonplace now.
The words read by a priest in an aisle of some churches this Sunday say, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2) That is the standard NIV translation. The NASB states this as: “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.” In the king’s English (KJV) is read, “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.” The ‘drunken’ pew dweller (drunk from ignorance, as the only translations they know is that read aloud to them) hears this and can’t remember when Jesus said he was going someplace to prepare a room for the disciples. The worst thing American Christians do is think Jesus said, “I am going to make sure you have a place set aside for YOU in Heaven.”
This is when the disciples, who were all young adults, probably in the twenty-five to thirty-five years of age range need to be seen as astute students of Mosaic Law and the writings in the scrolls. They had not only learned the Torah, Psalms, and Prophets by homeschooling and classes at the synagogue, but they went to the synagogue every Sabbath and taught the same lessons they had learned to their children. They did all that BEFORE they chose to follow Jesus as his disciples. They lived normal lives as fathers, husbands, and sons as devout Jews (probably raised as Essenes), but they had committed to follow Jesus to the synagogues he attended, to the places he preached, and to private ‘Bible Studies’ classes Jesus held in his home (probably on Wednesday evenings). [I make jest.] To put is mildly, the disciples (the twelve who were lead disciples over many other regular disciples) were fully committed servants of Yahweh, who saw Jesus as “the Son of Man” (if not the Son of God) and a prophet and miracle-worker like none other. They did more than follow Jesus, but whenever Jesus spoke to one of them they listened intently. Thus, they would have recalled if Jesus had previously promised to go to his father’s house and reserve a room for them.
Simply by seeing this level of commitment the disciples had, it should be within the grasp of an American Christian’s brain to associate a disciple of Jesus to one’s priest, pastor, minister, or preacher. That places them slightly higher on the scale of piety than a normal pew-sitter, whose only commitment is to come to church regularly [or semi-regularly, or frequently enough to call oneself Christian without sharp pains of guilt] and maybe give ten percent of their weekly paycheck [or less, or whatever they can afford to give at the time]. So, IF Jesus did imply, “I am going to prepare a room for you at my Father’s house,” THEN he only meant that for the really committed of his followers.
Keep in mind that Judas was one of the twelve, but he had left to go betray Jesus. If Jesus had said prior that he was going to make sure all you lead disciples get a place in Heaven, then he would have said it to Judas too. But, Jesus never said that before. All he had said before (three times) was he was going to go to Jerusalem and be persecuted to death, and after three days he would rise. He never mentioned going to the Father’s house, preparing anything, or coming back. Judas had been at all three predictions of Jesus’ death, but that never made the disciples afraid. After all, they had seen Jesus escape harm from the Pharisees a few times and his warnings to them only made them swear they would kick the asses of anyone who dared to harm Jesus. Judas Iscariot probably did not think turning Jesus over to the Temple Jews would amount to anything serious AND Judas was the smartest of the disciples (thus he kept the money).
The problem with this failure to understand what Jesus actually said (by priests and pewples alike) is an American Christians hear John 14:1-14 read to them (or read by them) and thinks they ALL just heard some television game show host say, “Johnny, tell the contestants what they just won!”
The reality of what John wrote, which captures the intent of what Jesus said via an alternate translation, is this:
In the household of the Father [is] me ,
dwelling places many there are ;
forasmuch as now not ,
I said [conditionally or of the possibility] you since [not now] I go to make ready a seat you ?
This says: 1.) Jesus is the ONLY family of God. That said, 2.) There are MANY places where God lives. Those ‘places’ are the hearts of human beings devoted to Yahweh. 3.) At that moment Yahweh did not live in the hearts of the disciples. However, 4.) When Jesus said he was going to die and be raised, he would come back to prepare them to receive the Spirit. 5.) Jesus made that statement sound like a rhetorical question, not expecting an answer.
and forasmuch as I go
and make ready a seat you ,
once more I am coming
and will admit you to myself ,
in order that in what place exist I
and you may be .
The repetition of “and” is a signal to take important notice of what is said. 1.) The only reason Jesus would die was to be reborn many times over. His death was the only reason he came into the world in the first place, sent by the Father. 2.) The purpose of dying is to make disciples be ready in their hearts to become a pure seat upon which Yahweh will sit. 3.) God sent His only Son to save humanity through his death, so he can come again in others who have been prepared. 4.) When Jesus returns it will be in the Spirit, joining with a human being servant (wife of God), so one will not only become the seat of God in one’s heart but also will become a soul merged with the soul of Jesus, two souls in one body of flesh. 5.) The receiver of Jesus’ soul will then be where Jesus Christ exists, making one be in the name of Jesus Christ. 6.) The receiver (“you”) is no longer any more than a subservient soul in a body of flesh ruled by the Christ Mind.
and in what place I am leading ,
you perceive the path .
1.) Once Jesus Christ has been reborn within one’s flesh, merged with one’s soul, his directions will lead one’s actions. 2.) The receiver will hear the voice of God, through His Son, and one will be led to walk a path of righteousness. That path will not veer, stop, or go backwards. The Christ Mind will only go where God commands.
I am the path ,
and the divine truth revealed to man ,
and the spiritual future existence .
no one goes to the Father ,
forasmuch as not because of me .
1.) Jesus is the path of righteousness, not anyone else. If human beings had any ability to be righteous without Jesus Christ, there would have been no reason to promise a Messiah or send Jesus. Humans need a Good Shepherd to take them out. The PATH is then the gate to Heaven. Jesus is both; and Heaven is a place where only Yahweh and Son reside. 2.) The way of righteousness is only about God’s TRUTH, which is the deeper meaning of Scripture and all divine revelations shared by Father and Son. 3.) The way of divine truth is the road to SAINTHOOD, by which one’s soul is granted eternal life beyond the death of the physical body, when the soul is released for judgment. Apostles teach the deeper meaning of God’s Word so other human beings can likewise be prepared to make room for God and Christ within their flesh. 4.) Yahweh is not a puppet of human beings, so human beings have no decision in whether or not the Father chooses to reside in one’s heart. 5.) One’s heart can only be purified by having the truth revealed, which is the preparation work done by the Spirit of Jesus Christ. From letting one’s brain see the truth of the Word, one’s heart will open and burn for more truth. Scripture is the truth of Jesus.
the words that I tell you ,
away from myself not I talk ,
the other hand the Father within me ever present does the acts here .
1.) Jesus is quoted in the four Gospels. Everything recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is accurately restating what Jesus said. 2.) John did not have a great memory when he wrote his Gospel, just as no writer of Holy Scripture comes up with words from their brains. Everything written about the words of Jesus come from Jesus Christ, who merged with the souls of Apostles. The words spoken by Jesus of Nazareth came from God, so Jesus did not use his brain to say what he said, remembered by Gospel writers – God spoke every word in the Holy Bible [and more]. 3.) Every act, every word, every filling of the Holy Spirit is the works of Yahweh, whose hand moves all divine prophets of earth.
In the Gospel reading from John on the Fifth Sunday of Easter, John wrote many other things that could be deeply translated and shown in full support of what I have stated above. If one has read this and not felt moved – one’s heart was not burning with desire to serve the Lord – then there is no sense in writing more. This says enough. This says it all. Just think back to the quote I pulled in from Matthew (and Luke): “I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” The “Father’s kingdom” is where Christ is King of a human body of flesh that has a soul (a breath of life from God at birth) merged with the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ.” Those are true Apostles and they are the good fruit of the vine through whom the blood of Christ flows. When one is a Saint and offers communion with other Saints (the true Church of Christ), then all are Jesuses drinking from the fruit of the vine in his Father’s kingdom.”
Note: The picture inserted above is an artist’s rendition of what the empty tomb of Jesus [Joseph of Arimathea’s new tomb] was imagined to look like. This is now amended to show what a human being’s body must become, where death of the self-ego must occur before God can set up residence in one’s heart, giving birth through His new wife [any gender of humans of faith] of Jesus Christ. All of this death and rebirth is the theme of John 14:1-14 AND it is why this reading takes place during the Easter season. The Easter season is all about the death of the self and the rebirth of Jesus Christ within one’s flesh – a true Apostle. Therefore, the tomb of Jesus being empty is symbolic of the carcass of self being emptied of self-worship, becoming a body of flesh where God and Son will live, so when one does reach the point of physical death one will then have eternal life outside the tomb of a physical being.