Sunday, June 26, 2011

Luke 2:42, 49, John 2: 13, 16, 17, John.14:1-7 - My Fathers House


Luke 2:42, 49

[42] And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom;
[49] And he said to them, "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"
[50] And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them.

John 2: 13, 16, 17

[13] The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

[16] And he told those who sold the pigeons, "Take these things away; you shall not make my Father's house a house of trade."
[17] His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for thy house will consume me."


[1] "Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me.

[2] In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
[3] And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
[4] And you know the way where I am going."
[5] Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?"
[6] Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.
[7] If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him."


After having read these verses many times, the thought of Jesus teaching us all about “my Fathers house” in two separate context, did make me want to learn more.

I have searched for an explanation for quite a while now and found the following insight (edited for brevity):


The account of the first Passover in John (2:3–3:2) has prepared the reader to interpret the death and resurrection of Jesus in the third Passover (John 11:55–20:3) as the destruction and rebuilding of the true Temple, and nothing less.

We have here several significant deployments of Temple terms and images.

First, the phrase, “Father’s house,” in John 14:2 recalls the nearly identical description of the Temple in John 2:6 (“my Father’s house”). The two expressions are certainly close enough for the connection to easily be made, yet there is a subtle, theologically significant alteration.

In John 2:6 the phrase used in the Septuagint translation describes the Temple, the palace, and other large buildings in the Temple complex.

In John 14:2, however, the phrase also means “house,” but frequently tends toward a more personal and familial rather than architectural sense—“household,” “home,” or even “family.”

A shift is taking place in John 14:2–3 as compared with John 2:6: The sense of the new Temple is being extended from Jesus’ physical body to the community of God, that is, to God’s “household” or “family.” The Temple concept is being applied to what the later Church tradition would call the Mystical Body of Christ.

The Temple reference in the phrase “Father’s house” is confirmed by other Temple allusions in these verses. The reference to a “house” with “many rooms” could not fail to bring to mind the Jerusalem Temple, the largest and most multi-chambered edifice known to the Jewish reader. Indeed, the Temple’s “many rooms” are immortalized in certain passages of the Old Testament (Ezek. 40–42).

Jesus is telling his disciples that his departure is necessary to prepare a Temple sanctuary for them in which they will dwell with him. Frequently this is understood in terms of a heavenly, eschatological fulfilment—the disciples will dwell with Jesus forever in the “Temple” of heaven.

Jesus clearly speaks of the disciples “abiding” in Christ even now, in this life.

One also must be cognizant of John 4:23: “If a man loves me … my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” Thus, Jesus goes to prepare a (holy) “place” for the disciples, with dwellings for them, but simultaneously the Father and Son will come to the faithful disciple and make their dwelling with him.

Therefore, John 4 taken as a whole, describes a mutual indwelling of Father and Son with the disciples, a mutual indwelling which is treated at greater length and more explicitly in the (Eucharistic) vine discourse of John 5:–7, with its stress on “abiding” or “dwelling”. All this suggests that Jesus’ promise to prepare a Temple in which the disciples shall abide will be realized now, in this age, through the mutual indwelling of the disciples, the Father, Son, and Spirit.

The disciples will be constituted a Temple by the Spirit, whom the Father and the Son will send after Jesus departs. The idea of the disciples as Temple—a concept also present in the scrolls found at Qumran —resonates on a deep level with other themes of the last discourse, especially when these are understood in light of Old Testament Temple traditions.

The Temple was the dwelling place of the name of God, the glory of God, and indeed, of God himself.

Compare these characteristics of the Temple with what is said about the disciples during the last discourse:

they are the locus of the name of God: “I have manifested your name to the men whom you gave me out of the world. … I have made known to them your name.”
They have received the glory: “The glory which you have given me I have given them, that they may be one even as we are one” (John 17:22).
They are the dwelling of God: “the Spirit of Truth … dwells with you, and will be in you” (John 14:17);
“If a man loves me. … We will come to him and make our home with him” (14:23).

Source: Temple, Sign, and Sacrament: Towards a New Perspective on the Gospel of John

Scott W. Hahn - St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology

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