Where did HE live - where do YOU live?
He was born in Bethlehem (Matt. 2: 1; Luke 2: 11), but did not remain there, He was brought up in Nazareth (Luke 3: 16), but never dwelt there, Capernaum was His own city (Mark 9: 11), but He had no home there, He spent many days labouring in Jerusalem but He never spent a night of rest there. I speak of course of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jerusalem, Capernaum, Nazareth and Bethlehem, all in some measure could claim host to the Son of God, yet He Himself said “The foxes have holes and the birds of the heaven roosting places, but the Son of Man has no where he may lay his head” (Matt. 8: 20; Luke 9: 58). Oh, I know it says (Matt. 4: 13), “he went and dwelt at Capernaum” but the word for “dwelt” in Greek is katoikeo and not meno (see later). So just where did the Lord Jesus live? When was His home?
In John 1: 38 two disciples asked this very question. “Rabbi, … where abidest (meno) thou?” Teacher, where do you live? So, how did the Lord reply? Did He give the address of this person or of that person? No! Did He mention Bethsaida, Capernaum or even Bethany? No! Indeed He didn’t even give a direct replay all! Instead H have an invitation: “Come and see”. And while historically that invitation was given well over nineteen centuries ago, it still stands for every disciple today. He would say it to you, He would say it to me. “Come and see”. And the Scripture goes on to say “They went therefore, and say where he abides;”—not where he abode, but where He abides. Why? Because the Lord hasn’t moved, he is still there today! Ah, but you say He was on earth then, and He is heaven now, how can the place be the same? Well you see it’s not really a physical location at all! Let Scripture itself supply the answer to the question, and that from this same book and this very chapter: John 1: 18 “the only–begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father”. That is where He is, was, and ever will be. That is where He lives. That is His home. He lives in the Father’s love.
This world had no room for the Saviour, nor for those who identified themselves with Him even at the beginning of His sojourn here (Luke 2: 7), and this inhospitable world has not changed. But there was another sphere of things which John, rather that the synoptic writers, brings out. For example, I read in Matthew, (21: 11), “This is Jesus the prophet who is from Nazareth of Galilee”, and again in Mark, (1: 9), “And it came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee”. That is the synoptic writers’ presentation, but now let’s turn again to John. In John we are taken, as it were, behind the scenes, to see not just what was outwardly true and could be observed by all, but to see what is the essential truth. Thus he records the Lord Jesus saying “For I am come down from heaven”, (6: 38), along with similar expressions in verses 41, 42, 50, and 51. That was where He came from; and in one sense He never left heaven “He who came down out of heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven” (John 3: 13). He ever lived in the heavenly atmosphere of the Father’s love.
Now in keeping with all this, John in his characteristic writings, (the Gospel and the Epistles), never once uses the word for dwelling (katoikeo), that the synoptic writers use, he always uses meno. It seems to suggest that John has a different thought in mind when he speaks of the Lord Jesus dwelling, it is not just where he stayed physically but where he dwelt essentially. He dwelt, (katoikeo), in Capernaum, but abode (meno), in the Father’s love (John 15: 10). Do you see the point?
Now, in returning to those two disciples in chapter 1 of John, it says “and they abode with him that day” (John 1: 39). They abode where He abode. Now where do you live, where do I live? Do we live where He lives? He lives as Man in the love of God and so Jude (v21), exhorts the saints to “keep yourselves in the love of God”.
Sadly, many seem to attach more importance to where they live physically than to where they live spiritually—yet the latter is far more important. Have you ever noticed, for example, how the apostle Paul addressed the saints in Philippi? It says “Paul and Timotheus, bondmen of Jesus Christ, to all the saints who are in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi …” (Phil. 1: 1). It doesn’t say “to all the saints who are in Philippi who are in Christ Jesus …”. Where they were spiritually is put first suggesting that what is spiritual takes precedence over what is material!
Years ago, someone looking for a particular believer enquired in the street as to where he lived. The person to whom the enquiry was directed said “That’s his house over there—but he lives in heaven!”. What a grand testimony that was! Would that it could be said of you and I! So finally we come back to this question again. Just where do we really live?