“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1–3
Jesus is trying to find a way to comfort his disciples. He’s just told them that he’s going away and that they cannot follow him. On top of that, over the past several weeks, he’s been impressing upon their hearts the reality that he’s going to be taken from them by the Jewish leaders and beaten and killed, and while they’ve had trouble accepting the truth of these statements time and repeated telling are beginning to have an affect and now, even though they’re not totally convinced, Jesus’ announcements still fills them with sadness.
So Jesus borrows symbolism from Jewish betrothal customs to try and convey the certainty of his promise to return.
Following a marriage betrothal there was a period of waiting for the bride as the groom prepared himself to fulfill his obligation to the marriage contract. The family as a whole had to provide payment of the marriage price and additionally the groom needed to prepare a place for his bride to live.
Frequently the way that the bridal chamber was provided was by the groom adding a room onto his father’s house. This responsibility was his and his alone. He might get help with the task but often, due to the perpetual, day to day, effort require to carry the burdens of maintaining an income for the family, the lions share of the time and labor required to provide a place for the new bride would fall to the groom himself.
Jesus tapped into the grooms deep desire to be together with his beloved and his focused attention on quickly completing his preparations so that he could welcome her to himself when he was trying to impress upon his disciples the reality that, even though he was being taken from them, he would come again.
“Let not your hearts be trouble … in my Father’s house are many mansions … I go to prepare a place for you.”
“O my beloved, you don’t have to worry about my having enough room for you. My Father’s house has many rooms. I’m going to prepare a place for you so that where I am you can be there too. Just as surely as a bridegroom, yearning for his bride, will take no more time than what is necessary to prepare to receive his bride you can know that I will be the same way about coming back for you.”