Easter 5 Monday
“In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, I would tell you: I go to prepare the place for you. And if go to prepare the place for you, I will return and take you to myself, so that you are where I am.”
The first comfort is that death is not to prevail over the Lord Christ. For death does not find Christ to be a mere man – although he is a true, natural man – but also a true, natural, eternal Son of God. Therefore, even though death kills Christ as a man and son of the virgin Mary, death cannot kill the Son of God, as St. Peter also says, Acts 2:24, “It was impossible that death should hold him.” And the Lord himself says in John 16:16 that after a little while, they would see him again. That is great comfort. And it would have been potent enough by itself if the disciples had been able to grasp it and hold on to it. But what Christ here says is something great: When he steps through physical death into another and eternal life, he will find many rooms, not only for himself but also for his disciples. And if they were not prepared, he would prepare them for them. This means: Do not be frightened because I will die on the cross tomorrow. For such death does not harm me, but it is beneficial for you. And it is beneficial for you when you are separated from this life that you are to find good lodgings and rooms in that life. Those rooms are prepared already. But if they were not prepared, I would make them ready and prepare them. In summary, Christ wants to comfort us all by these words by showing us that his dying is to help us toward eternal life and is to acquire for us eternal salvation. Just so Paul says, Romans 4:25: “Christ died for our sin and was raised again for righteousness.” Now, who would be frightened by such a death? Who would not rather rejoice in it and thank God for such mercy and gracious help that we are freed from it and are to become partakers of eternal life by the death of Christ? Otherwise, we would have had to stay in death and damnation forever. Christ’s going is determined; he no longer wants to remain in this temporal, miserable life. It is also determined that there is no other reason for his death and dying than that he wants to prepare the place for his disciples. This is why his death may be called a joyful and blessed death for us by which we are provided with rooms in eternal life, as the following words clearly show: “And I will return and take you to myself so that you are where I am.” Oh God, that we could believe such words properly and enclose them well into our hearts! Then it would certainly follow that our hearts not only are not frightened. They would also constantly float in joys, skip, and rejoice. For consider what these words bring: We are to be where Christ is. He is not in sins, in hell, in death, but in righteousness, blessedness, and eternal life. And he is in there so that he can never get out again. This is where we too shall go. For such, says he, he has acquired for us by his death or dying. For we must beware lest we think that such words and comforting sermon are said only to the disciples. To be sure, he speaks directly to them alone, but he does not mean them alone. Otherwise it would have to follow that he only died for them alone. But we know that he died for us and for the whole world. But since his dying, as he says here, is ordained so as to prepare the place, it follows that he prepared the place for all people. But the reason for the fact that not all people are saved and come to the place Christ prepared is that they do not accept such dying and do not ask it – no matter how Christ prepared the place – so long as they have enough goods in this life; that would satisfy them. These are the un-Christians who do not have faith.