John 1:38-39 - The Dwelling Place of Jesus
Updated: Mar 10
"Where dwellest thou?" The disciples' first question.
Answering a question, with a question, wouldn't appear to be the most effective form of clarifying expectations, however, this was exactly how the disciples responded to Jesus when asked by our Lord: "what seek ye?" (John 1:38) Taking a closer look at the first recorded exchange between the disciples and our Lord, Jesus Christ, in the Gospel according to St. John (John 1:38-39), will reveal an interesting foreshadowing, of the dwelling place of our Lord, that may not be so obvious.
"Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour." (John 1:38-39) -emphasis added
In response to Andrew and John's request to see the dwelling place of the most high God, they were told by Jesus to "come and see;" note, the disciples' eyes, ears, and hearts were not yet fully opened to the truth. We know this, because Jesus had not yet been crucified, and resurrected (in accordance with the scriptures), and therefore the disciples could not have fully understood the depth to their own initial inquiry; the thoughts and intents of the disciples' heart was exposed due to the nature of interacting with the Word (Hebrews 4:12): they wanted to see the dwelling place of the Lord, but they could not have foreseen the events to come, which would include Jesus conquering sin and death, and His eventual ascension into heaven where he "...is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. (1 Peter 3:22) What we see is a foreshadowing (among a number of others): the beginning of an unveiling throughout the Gospel According to St. John, of the dwelling place of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is important to recognize, that God never changes (Malachi 3:6, James 1:17): His dwelling place is always righteous, holy, just and eternal: He has declared the end from the beginning. (Isaiah 46:10)
With earthly eyes: they came and saw where he dwelt
The text does not go into detail of the dwelling place that the disciples "saw," however, John 3:3 indicates that one must be born again to "see" the kingdom of God. We can reasonably surmise that what Jesus was showing the disciples, could not have been fully fathomed, as the Holy Spirit had not yet been sent to the disciples, to guide them (and us) into all truth.
"...when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come." John 16:13
We know that the disciples hearts were hard, that they often wandered, worried, questioned, doubted, and rebelled; we know this because "...all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God..." (Romans 3:23). Even though the disciples hearts were deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9-10), Jesus allowed them access to Himself, as the Father drew the disciples to Jesus; the disciples' relationship with Jesus would give them access to God the Father, which would allow them to take part in becoming the dwelling place for God (Ephesians 2:22). Jesus was the intermediary to bring peace between God and man.
Where is the dwelling place of Jesus?
In the prologue of the Gospel According to St. John, we see a subtle reference to where the only begotten son presides, and has presided, since the beginning:
No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. John 1:18 -emphasis added
This is a key text, to understand the dwelling place of Jesus, Jesus is in the bosom of the Father! The Greek word for "bosom," is "Kolpos," which can be translated to:
the front of the body between the arms
the bosom of a garment, i.e. the hollow formed by the upper forepart of a rather loose garment bound by a girdle or sash, used for keeping and carrying things (the fold or pocket)
Referencing scripture throughout the Gospel According to St. John, it would appear that "Kolpos" is a word used to describe the location of the only begotten son, not just the intimate relationship between Jesus and God the Father. Obviously, being in the bosom of the Father, would indicate a nearness to the heart of God, but is there a deeper understanding than just proximity? Examining key scriptures, in the Gospel According to St. John will help us to dive deeper into this relationship/dwelling place.
"I and my Father are one." John 10:30 -emphasis added
"Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake." John 14:10-11-emphasis added
Jesus is in the bosom of the Father, which traditionally would indicate a proximity (near the chest) or even a relational closeness (as John 13:23 indicates when John lays his head in Jesus' bosom), the difference with Jesus, however, is that Jesus and the Father are one; Jesus is IN the Father, and the Father is IN Jesus. This would lead one to understand that Jesus, being in the bosom of the Father, indicates far more than a proximity (or nearness) in terms of physical space, or even relational, but is an identifying characteristic of our Messiah. To further expand on this defining characteristic of Christ, let's take a look at how Scripture defines the heart, to get a better understanding of the dwelling place of Jesus.
The Heart of Man
The heart is where all of our activities are planned (Proverbs 16:9); the heart is where our words come from - out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34) - and what comes out of our heart has the potential to defiles us (Matthew 15:11), because it is with our heart that we believe/serve (Romans 10:9, Matthew 6:24). One's belief in the heart, will manifest into a confession that is communicated through one's mouth; this external confession will save, or condemn, based on what one confesses to be truth. The heart of man is deceitful and wicked, and only God can search the heart (Jeremiah 17:9-10); thankfully, God himself, promised to give man a new heart, and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26); since Adam and Eve gave into temptation, man's heart has been poisoned by sin, since the fall in the Garden of Eden.
There is a parallel, a connection, a bridge, between the nature of the heart of man and the words that Jesus (the second man) speaks, which reflect the heart of God.
The Heart of God
Paralleling Matthew 12:34 and Proverbs 4:23, outlined above, Jesus says:
"For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak." John 12:49-50
Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. John 5:19 - emphasis added
The only words that Jesus speaks are the words of our Heavenly Father, and nothing of his own will (Jesus had to resist the temptation to speak from the flesh); the function of the heart, is such that, every spoken word, comes from the heart; the words that Jesus spoke, came from the very heart of God, because Jesus is in the Father, and the Father is in Him: Jesus is in the bosom of the Father. Jesus is the new heart given to man, referenced in Ezekiel 36:26; just as Jesus dwells in the heart of the Father, so does He dwell in the heart of the elect, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit. The dwelling place of Jesus is in the heart, which creates the confession of His Lordship. This is the foreshadowing that we see begin to unfold when the disciples first ask Jesus:
"Where dwellest thou?" John 1:38
I pray that you see the dwelling place of Jesus to be within your heart, that He is your confession, your rock, your Lord and Savior.