Are you aware that God wants to put you in your place? I hope that does not offend you. If it does then you may need some loving pastoral counseling, or maybe a loving prophetic or apostolic kick in the rear.
John the apostle states this in 14:2,3 of his Gospel ~
“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. 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” [Bold emphasis mine].
These verses are very familiar to those who have been to a funeral or graveside service. These verses have brought comfort to many people who have lost loved ones or friends to death. I would like to propose to you that although they do bring comfort to those left behind and dealing with their loss, this was not the main purpose of these verses.
Later on in this conversation Jesus said this, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also” [14:18, 19] [Bold words my emphasis].
I believe Jesus’ purpose in all of these statements was to inform His disciples, those He was leaving to carry on His mission of world transformation, that He had a specific place and function for them to fill, on earth, in His absence.
Look at what He said, not at what you have been told He said!
- “I will not leave you” ~ Wait, I thought Jesus was going a long way away to a place called heaven
- “As orphans” ~ Abandoned, deprived, not connected to anyone or anything beneficial
- “In My Father’s house” ~ What is God’s address
- “I go to prepare a place for you” ~ Where is that place is a legitimate question
- “I . . . prepare a place for you” ~ Again, where is that place
- “I will come again” ~ Come from where to where
- “That where I am there you may be also” ~ Where I am, not where I was when I left. Where are they going to be
- “I will come to you” ~ Ah! Now we now where He will be. They will be on earth and so will He
- “After a little while” ~ I will be gone a short time
- “The world will not see Me but you will see Me” ~ My people will see Me
We know from Scripture that Jesus spent 3 days and nights in the grave [Matthew 12:40; 27:63], and 40 days with His disciples during the time between His resurrection and His ascension [Acts 1:3]. We also know that there was 7 days in between His ascension and when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost [50 days after crucifixion]. If you add up the days from His crucifixion [Passover] to Pentecost it was 50 days [Pente = 50].
Crucifixion Day – Resurrection Day ~ 3; Resurrection Day – Ascension Day ~ 40; Ascension Day – Pentecost ~ 7; Total ~ 50
I want to propose to you that when the Holy Spirit was poured out on those same disciples in the upper room [Acts 2] Jesus fulfilled His promise to come to them in a little while.
Interestingly, Luke said those disciples that showed up that day were all in one place. Now, we could say, “no duh!” But what was Luke actually saying? Was he saying that 12o people were crammed into a relatively small room, which they were? Or was he saying they had finally found their place?
The answer lies in the original language of the New Testament, Koine [common] Greek. When the English translations say, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place” or a reasonable facsimile thereof, what do they mean? Literally it means they, as individuals and collectively as a group, were assembled in their rightful place.
Think of a puzzle for a moment. When you purchase a puzzle it comes disassembled in a box. It is a puzzle although it is not put together. To me that is analogous of a congregation, which most churches use to define their members. In our puzzle analogy the pieces of the puzzle in the box are congregated, which means all together in one place, the box. The church members may be in the same room at the same time but are they assembled?
An assembly on the other hand means more than congregated. Assembled means to bring together for a common purpose, and the fitting together the separate component parts to make a whole. Now picture that same puzzle with all of its pieces rightly fitted together. It now looks like the picture on the outside of the box. That is how God intended His Body to be and sees His Body as being, rightfully fitted together as a whole, assembled together for a common purpose, which is to bring heaven to earth.
Paul the apostle wrote these words in one of his letters to the church he founded in Corinth, “But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired” [1 Corinthians 12:18] [Bold words for my emphasis]. This verse clearly informs us that God has a place for the members of Christ’s Body here on earth.
I encourage you to read Romans 12:3-8 in conjunction with 1 Corinthians 12:12 through the end of the chapter. In these texts Paul, who wrote Corinthians and Romans, lays out the case that God intends for His people to be rightly fitted in their proper place so that they could function at their full capacity and potential and accomplish all the God had purposed when He created them and brought them forth into the world.
Peter said something very similar in 1 Peter 2:4,5 NLT, “Come to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by the people, but he is precious to God who chose him. And now God is building you, as living stones, into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are God’s holy priests, who offer the spiritual sacrifices that please him because of Jesus Christ” [Bold words my emphasis].”
Those who belong to God through Jesus His Son are living stones, just as Jesus is a living stone. Jesus was God’s house when He lived as a human being on earth. Now, all who are God’s people are God’s house, or temple. We are His dwelling place. Jesus in not in some far away galaxy constructing a brick and mortar extravagant mansion for us to retire to when we die. He is setting each living stone into its rightful place to be an eternal place to inhabit [See also Ephesians 2:19-22 & 4:15,16; 1 Corinthians 3:16 & 6:19,20].
This is definitely out of the box thinking for those of us who grew up being told Jesus had gone up to heaven so He could build us all a mansion.
Where do you belong in His Body? Where is that place in His Body that God wants to place you? Is it the place you are currently calling your church? Are you even attending a church? If not, why not? “People do not understand me” is not a legitimate excuse to not be connected to the Body in a local church. Neither is “I don’t fit in anywhere.”
“Let us not stay away from church meetings. Some people are doing this all the time. Comfort each other as you see the day of His return coming near” [Hebrews 10:25 NLB].
Why are you where you are? Have you ever thought of that? Are you where you are because that is where you have always been? Are you there because someone told you that is where you belong? Maybe you are there because it is convenient. Maybe you are there because all of your family or friends are there. Or maybe position, prestige or money is the reason you are where you are right now.
All of these may be good reasons for being where you are. But is the place where you are the place God wants to put you?
God wants to put you in your place!
For HIS Glory!
Dr. Kevin M. Drury