Home Is Where Jesus Is

Text: John 14:1-6

Family and friends of Gene: grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. 

We have all heard the phrase, “home is where the heart is.”  It is an old American phrase used since the 1820s. However, what does this phrase exactly mean? What does it mean to say, “Home is where the heart is?” Well, it simply means: a person’s true home is where they feel the happiest. A person’s true home is where their affections rest.   

With all of this in mind, this past week, Gene went home. His soul is resting in heaven. In fact, Gene even said during his last days something to the effect of, “I want to go home.” This is very good; it is very comforting to know that Gene’s affections were to be in heaven. However, at the same time, we can often struggle with the idea of our loved ones being in heaven and us still being here on earth. In other words, we are happy that Gene is in heaven (that he is at home); however, a part of us feels unsettled because we are not in heaven with him. We are still here on earth.  

Now, while it is true that we are a stranger here on earth - that this earth is a vale of tears that we travel through - we must keep in mind that you and I are not disconnected from Gene. Yes, Gene is in heaven, and we are here in this world, but there is not a great chasm between you and Gene. Please make sure you hear what I am saying, though. Yes, there is a drastic difference between heaven and this world that we muddle through. This world that we live in has sorrow, danger, drear, tears, pain, and suffering. This world is hard and often cruel. However, heaven is quite the opposite. Heaven has no more tears, death, mourning, crying, or pain. Indeed, heaven and this world are drastically different. But then again, just because Gene is in heaven right now does not mean that you and I are separated from him. 

But how is this possible?  

Dear friends, the day that Gene was baptized, He was forgiven of his sins, rescued from death and the devil, and given eternal life. In a word, Gene was buried and raised in Christ through Baptism. He was snatched from darkness and placed in the light. And so, through baptism, Gene was joined to Christ, and Christ was joined to him. But, as we know, this past week, the sting of death clamped down on Gene. But contrary to what many may think, death could not separate Jesus from Gene. That is right, nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable – absolutely nothing could get between Christ’s love and claim upon Gene – not even death! The Lord chose to call Gene unto himself in heaven – where I might add, Gene is still joined to Jesus. And get this, at the great Last Day, Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will raise Gene’s body from the grave and give him eternal life in the new creation – with Jesus. And so, in life, Gene was joined to Jesus. In death, he is joined to Jesus. And on the Last Day, he will be joined to Jesus.  

I guess we could say, “Home is not where the heart is,” but instead, “home is where Jesus is.” Yeah, I like that. Don’t you like that too? It should make us smile. Gene is home right now because he is with Jesus.  

But we still have not dealt with the idea that we are not separated from Gene. Dear friends, hear this loud and clear! We are not separated from the baptized saints who have departed in the faith - at all.  

Please listen carefully! When you and I were baptized, we were connected to Jesus’ work on the cross and Jesus’ righteousness. And when Gene was baptized, he was connected to Jesus’ work on the cross and Jesus’ righteousness. Together, Christ Jesus bestowed His forgiveness, life, and salvation as a sheer gift to poor miserable sinners like you, me, and Gene. And death – well, it can’t undo what Jesus did for you, me, or Gene.  

And so, right now, Gene is a part of the church of heaven in the presence of Jesus, whereas you and I are a part of the church here on earth that is also in the presence of Jesus. There is no such thing as a heaven and a church without Jesus.  And so, we are not two churches but one church. We are one communion. Because there is one Christ, there is one church and there is one home.

Cheryl, Becky, and Kim, this is a big comfort and encouragement for you right now. When you gather in the name of Jesus to receive His good gifts (such as right now and in the future), you are at home. And Gene, he is home right now too with Jesus. And so, you cannot be any nearer to Gene than you are right now. Your Jesus is just as close to you, as He is to Gene – for you are buried and resurrected in Him.  Mark this: when the church gathers, it is never just a small segment of the church here on earth because, when we gather around Jesus, the whole family of God is present – the church on earth and the church in heaven. Think of it this way, when we gather to worship Christ and receive His gifts, some members of the church are visible on earth, whereas others in heaven are not visible. Nevertheless – we are one church, one communion, together at home with Jesus.  

Baptized Saints, this is such a profound comfort! If we had the eyes to see, we would discover that we never gather with less than a few million at a time. When you gather in Jesus' name, the angels in heaven and the souls of the saints in heaven are there as well – souls like Gene.   

And so, home is where Jesus is. Cheryl, Becky, and Kim – you are at home right now with your daddy because you are all joined to Christ as one church and one family. 

We are home with Jesus in this vale of tears and in glory forever.    

In baptism, in death, and in the resurrection, Jesus takes us to Himself, so that where He is, there you may also be.  We are at home with Jesus.  

In the name of Jesus. Amen. 

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