The Jist: Who Will Build a House?
At ease in his palace, at peace from his enemies, King David thought of his God. Perhaps he felt guilty as he said to the prophet Nathan, “Look! I am living in a palace made from cedar, while the ark of God sits in the middle of a a tent” (2Sm 7:3).
The idea sounds good to Nathan. Without a word from the Lord, he blesses David’s plan, but has to turn around the next day and announce that the Lord will not let David build him a house. His son will do that. And the Lord will build a “house” for David, a dynasty that will be permanent.
David prays a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving, awed at God’s goodness. “Is this your usual way of dealing with men, O Lord God?” (v. 20b).
David subjugated the nations around him and, internally, “guaranteed justice for all his people” (8:15).
In John 14, Jesus had promised his followers that he would leave to “make ready a place” for them (v. 3) among the “many dwelling places in [his] Father’s house” (v. 1). Today’s reading continues that thought.
He would send the Advocate in his place. He promises to return. His unveiling would not be to the whole world, as the disciples thought, but to those who loved and obeyed him. While he is gone, he leaves also his peace with them. While he is preparing for them in heaven, he is also preparing for their kingdom-building activities on earth.
The context of John 13-16 is Jesus’ conversation with the Apostles. Much of what he says to them applies exclusively to them and their ministry as eyewitnesses. The promise that the Holy Spirit would teach them everything and “cause you to remember everything I said to you” (14:26) is obviously meant only for the apostles. We must carefully apply some of Jesus’ teachings here to our own lives. Certainly, what he says about love and obedience are applicable today. His promise to return still stands. The promise to come and take up residence is made to “anyone” who loves and obeys his word (14:23).
What seems to be a good idea to people may not be God’s idea. Let’s give our approval to plans–ours and others–only when we have a specific word of God (1Sm 7:17).
What worthless things do my eyes consider? How can I be revived with God’s word? (Ps 119:37).
Lord, as you prepare a place for me, let me love and obey you, and enjoy your peace while I extend your invitation to others. Because Jesus promised. Amen.