In my Father’s house

Jesus was a Master at teaching by examples that listeners of His day would understand. For instance, in Matthew 13:1-9 when He taught the parable of the sower, his listeners understood. Many of them earned their livelihood by planting, harvesting, sowing and reaping. The same was true for the parable of the leaven in Matthew 13:33-43. Bread was a staple food in Jewish households. They knew all about baking and what leaven did for making bread.

In three short verses (John 14:1-3) Jesus describes to His listeners the meaning of the resurrection, and the meaning of living with Him in Heaven forever. He also foretold His second coming. He uses the analogy of the Jewish marriage ceremony to convey his message.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled,” Jesus said. “Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms (“mansions” in the KJV); if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

His listeners could relate personally to His illustration. The Jewish people regarded home and family as the focal point of society in Jesus’ day. Traditions, customs and family matters dominated social life. The father’s house usually provided stability, safety, consistency and shelter for the wife and all their children and their sons’ families as well. Home and family paralleled the Temple in importance to first century Jewish people.

A centuries-old family marriage tradition provided that sons would add rooms onto the father’s house when they married so the couple could remain a part of the father’s family. If a young Jewish man took an interest in a Jewish girl, he would first go to his father to ask permission. The groom’s father and the prospective bride’s father would meet to discuss terms of the marriage.  After fathers of the prospective bride and groom entered into a marriage agreement and the groom paid the bride-price, the community regarded the couple as betrothed.

When the marriage ceremony finally concluded (possibly up to one year after the engagement), the groom left his bride with her family. The groom returned to his father’s house and built a room onto his father’s house where he and his new bride would live with the rest of the family. The prospective bride stayed home and the family women taught her how to be a good wife and mother, according to Jewish traditions.

When the bridegroom completed adding a room onto his father’s house, he would return to his bride’s house (usually at night) to retrieve her. Then the groom would take his bride back to their new home, “that where I am there you may be also.” v.3b.

Every Jewish Christian living in the first century remotely familiar with their ancient Jewish marriage customs understood the parallels were about them.¹


About Steven Sawyer

God blessed me with the gift of writing. Mom told me I wrote paragraphs in second grade when others were learning to write sentences. I spent more than three decades in professional writing gigs. For the past eight years I've combined my passion for writing with my love for the Lord. He and I write a Christ-centered, family-friendly blog to glorify God Monday-thru Friday at My wife and I have four grown children and two precious granddaughters we co-parent with their mom. I'm a Galatians 2:20 disciple of Christ seeking to allow Christ to live His life in me, through me, and as me.
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17 Responses to In my Father’s house

  1. Welcome, Steven. So glad to have you joining us.

  2. Steven Sawyer says:

    Thank you so much for including me as a contributor. This is going to be a huge blessing for me.

  3. 4hispraise says:

    May I add my Welcome! Perhaps if we built rooms in our hearts for our children’s chosen mates, the marriages would have greater endurance. No investment… no loss. We may well give up too soon. So it is with faith. The more invested, the more valued the prize.

    Hi Steven; And a sincere welcome to you also. Yours is a very thought-full post. We will be anticipating more. milt

  4. mtsweat says:

    Welcome aboard Steven. We look forward to your grace-gifted words, friend. Thanks and God bless.

    • Steven Sawyer says:

      Mike, thanks so much. I appreciate your encouragement and I look forward to reading more of your thoughtful writing.

  5. granbee says:

    Bless you, dear Stephen, for educating us and clarifying the background of Jesus’ speech to his disciples about going to prepare a place for me. So very beautiful is the Jewish custom when it is practice in its purest form. So thrilling for me to consider Christ as the bridgeroom of us all! Also, a hearty welcome and thanksgiving for your joining Christian Blessings contributoring authors.

    • Steven Sawyer says:

      Thanks, granbee, it’s great to be here and I hope to get to know you and other fellow Christian bloggers better. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement.

  6. Joyce de vivre says:

    Welcome Steve! Wonderful post. 🙂 Thank you for sharing it and for providing the link – I enjoyed the site. God bless!

  7. Loved your post! I love to read about 1st century Jewish culture.

    • Steven Sawyer says:

      Thanks! All I read about the culture and customs and archeology really make the Bible come alive when I read it knowing the history and the background.

  8. writinggomer says:

    Great post Steve! Thanks for sharing with us. 🙂
    Welcome to Christian Blessings! Glad to have you here with us!
    God bless

  9. speaklife1 says:

    Thanks for this wealth of information….I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    • Steven Sawyer says:

      I’m blessed that you enjoyed the story. The history and culture of that era in Jewish history sure makes the Bible come alive for me. Thanks for your encouragement.

  10. ptl2010 says:

    We welcome Steve Sawyer as a Contributor to ChristianBlessings on this his first posting here.
    Trusting God to bless him as he will be a blessing here. Trusting God for His anointing on our brother as He seeks to send forth the message the Lord has laid on his heart to share.

    Praise the Lord for “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” Praise the Lord He is coming soon and we have great hope in His Word………are we ready to meet Him?

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