♦ 我父的家裏有許多住處(約14:1-2),這”住處”所指為何?

”住處”指的是聖殿

這種看法是根據路加福音第二章;

每年到逾越節,他父母就上耶路撒冷去。當他十二歲的時候,他們按著節期的規矩上去。守滿了節期,他們回去,孩童耶穌仍舊在耶路撒冷。他的父母並不知道,以為他在同行的人中間,走了一天的路程,就在親族和熟識的人中找他,既找不著,就回耶路撒冷去找他。

過了三天,就遇見他在殿裡,坐在教師中間,一面聽,一面問。凡聽見他的,都希奇他的聰明和他的應對。他父母看見就很希奇。他母親對他說:我兒!為什麼向我們這樣行呢?看哪!你父親和我傷心來找你!耶穌說:為什麼找我呢?豈不知我應當以我父的事為念嗎(或作:豈不知我應當在我父的家裡嗎)?(路2:41-49)

Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house/Or be about my Father’s business

 


 

‘住處”指的是藉著聖靈的內住,我們與父神、耶穌基督、聖靈同住在一個靈裡。when Jesus was talking about his Father’s house, he was talking about his Spirit dwelling in the hearts of those who believe in him。

耶穌回答說:人若愛我,就必遵守我的道;我父也必愛他,並且我們要到他那裡去,與他同住。(14:23)

你們要常在我裡面,我也常在你們裡面。枝子若不常在葡萄樹上,自己就不能結果子;你們若不常在我裡面,也是這樣。我是葡萄樹,你們是枝子。常在我裡面的,我也常在他裡面,這人就多結果子;因為離了我,你們就不能做什麼。(15:4-5)

我要求父,父就另外賜給你們一位保惠師(或作:訓慰師;下同),叫他永遠與你們同在,就是真理的聖靈,乃世人不能接受的;因為不見他,也不認識他。你們卻認識他,因他常與你們同在,也要在你們裡面。(14:16-17)


約翰福音第17章是耶穌離世的禱告,這其中值得注意的有兩點;

第一耶穌沒有用天堂、或天家這詞,耶穌說的是’回到父那裡—-現在我往你那裡去(17:13上),這等同於第14章耶穌說「在我父的家裡有許多住處;若是沒有,我就早已告訴你們了。我去原是為你們預備地方去。」(14:2)。”House” is the same as the “dwelling place” and the dwelling place of both the Father and the Son is man, for both Father and the Son will find a dwelling place in those who love Jesus and fulfil His commandments (John 14:23).

第二,耶穌不只提到信徒的合一,更提到和三一神的合一。

使他們都合而為一。正如你父在我裡面,我在你裡面,使他們也在我們裡面,叫世人可以信你差了我來。你所賜給我的榮耀,我已賜給他們,使他們合而為一,像我們合而為一。

我在他們裡面,你在我裡面,使他們完完全全的合而為一,叫世人知道你差了我來,也知道你愛他們如同愛我一樣。父啊,我在哪裡,願你所賜給我的人也同我在那裡,叫他們看見你所賜給我的榮耀;因為創立世界以前,你已經愛我了。

公義的父啊,世人未曾認識你,我卻認識你;這些人也知道你差了我來。我已將你的名指示他們,還要指示他們,使你所愛我的愛在他們裡面,我也在他們裡面。(約17:21-26)


 

This can be taken as the point of interpretation of “house” and “rooms”: “house” is the entire mankind as a whole, community of human beings, the crown of creation, the only beings created as images of God and as potential inheritors of the Eternal Kingdom. But “rooms” are the individual human persons, individual human hearts, for all humanity is in fact the “house” of God, but not all “rooms” of this big “house” are open to His presence, for human free response to God is necessary, for God, respecting human freedom, does not “break into”, so to say, in those rooms/hearts, but waiting for the free response, stands at the door and knocks (Revelation 3:20); there is only one handle of this door, that inside the room, and only we can open it.


As to “I will go and prepare” phrase: this phrase is semantically the same as the phrase “it is better for you if I go, for unless I go the Paraclete will not come” (John 16:7); for unless Christ removed His corporeal and sensually tangible presence from the disciples, they would not have developed a loftier and more spiritual (that is to say, Holy Spirit-guided) understanding of the Messiah, as not a mere parochial politico-religious leader of Jewish nation, but as the universal Messiah of all humans; as not only an external teacher of enhanced and perfected divine commandments, but as God’s very inseparable Word through whom everything was created (John 1:1-3); as not only Him, who co-acts external-visible miracles with the Father, so that the Latter is absolutely unable to do anything without Him (no less than the sun is unable to enlighten without emitting rays) (John 5:19), but also as Him who starts to dwell within human hearts and work powerfully inside humans (Col. 1:29).


And now, as Paul says, in this new stage Christ is not known in a merely bodily way, as before, but already in a more elevated, spiritual way (2 Cor. 5-15). In fact, “going away” of Jesus, that is to say, His physical removal from the physical, habitual setting was in this way even necessary for the advent of the authentic Christianity, for had He remained on earth, there would have always been in the disciples the pernicious vestigial hope that Jesus would eventually become a powerful earthly King, making the disciples earthly ministers (Matt 20:21). Unless this vestigial hope was eradicated altogether, the Holy Spirit’s work in human heart would be blocked, and that is why by His Ascension Jesus removed Himself for good from any context of political-patriotic expectations of Jews, forcing as it were His disciples to cleanse their hearts from those blocks that prevented full-fledged divine presence in them.

Thus, His “going away” and “preparing rooms”, means that He will start a process of cleansing and nurturing human hearts through the advent of Holy Spirit to newer and greater preparedness for being a “dwelling place” of God. This process starts during the earthly life, but is not stopped by a physical death and continues to all eternity, for heart’s joyful growth in God never ends, and thus Christ eternally “prepares” human heart to a greater and greater intensity of divine presence in it, this sublime unending process being expressed by Pauline wording as “epektasis”, or “forgetting what was behind” and “straining/stretching oneself /ἐπεκτεινόμενος/ forward” (Philippians 3:13) to newer, yet unknown and unexperienced dimensions of divine presence, for “a star differs from a star by splendour” (1 Cor. 15:41), as does an angel from an angel and a saint from a saint.

Just as a post scriptum: not only the Father and the Son will abide eternally in heart of a God-loving person, but, as briefly noted above, also the Holy Spirit, of whom the temple human being is (1 Cor. 3:16).