One day Jesus said to his disciples, “I go to prepare a place for you.” He was going home to heaven. What is heaven? First, Heaven is a place. What kind of place? How do you describe heaven? Jesus said to the thief on the cross, “Today, you will be with me in paradise” (Lk. 23:43). The word, “paradise,” is a Persian word “for an enclosed park or pleasure ground.” (RWP). But in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the OT, the word, “paradise,” was used for the garden of Eden (Gen. 2:8; 13:10). (John Nolland) Paradise is a pleasant, pleasurable place, like the garden of Eden.
Have you been to a beautiful garden full of plants and trees? Heaven is a million times more beautiful and more pleasant. Heaven is a beautiful park, a pleasurable place of enjoyment. But heaven is more than a place.
Second, Heaven is a Person. Jesus said, “Where I am, there you may be also.” Heaven is a Person. Jesus will be there.
Third, Heaven is permanence. Howard Hendricks said that heaven is being with a permanent person in a permanent place. The thing that makes heaven, heaven, is the presence of Jesus. The thing that makes hell, hell, is the absence of Jesus. It is the presence of Jesus our Savior that makes heaven a glorious place.
Aren’t you glad whenever you come home after a long journey? As someone once wrote, There’s no place like home. Joy has gone home. She is now in a permanent place called heaven. Most of all, she is with a permanent Person called Jesus.