“Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 “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. (NASB)
Here we have the famous passage where Jesus speaks comforting words to His disciples; for He had just announced that He would soon be betrayed and denied and that he would depart from them (they had not understood at this point that he would be crucified), and they were downhearted that He would be leaving them. Notice that there is nothing in this passage to indicate that the disciples sought to comfort Jesus, the One who would be betrayed and denied. No, they were thinking only of themselves and were troubled that they could not continue to be with Him—so they were in no shape to comfort anyone.
Yet the Lord, being Himself in great sorrow, spoke the most wonderful words of comfort to them. He told them that while He was away, He would be thinking of them and preparing a wonderful place for them to stay with Him in the Father’s house. And He told them that He would come soon to get them and bring them to this house where He would be with them.
Now Jesus did not tell His disciples this story to comfort them alone. This passage is meant to comfort all believers of all times. This passage is for you and me. And the story is true. Yes, Jesus has gone away to His Father, but He is now presently preparing a place for us in heaven. That place I believe is the New Jerusalem or the Holy City described in revelation 21.
Verse three I believe describes the rapture—because it says that He will receive us to Himself, and that we will be with Him there where He is. In other words, Jesus is saying that He will not come down to earth to be with us; rather, He will “receive” us to Himself. And then He says, “That where I am [in heaven] there you may be also.”
Let me say just one more thing that I think is key to confirming that this passage refers to the rapture. It is the idea of comfort—that our thought and expectation of His coming to get us should bring us comfort. We understand this when we read no doubt the most well-known passage on the rapture, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Here the Thessalonians were likewise sorrowful in their ignorance; but Paul, explaining the resurrection and the rapture, gave them much hope and comfort. And Paul even at the end of his teaching instructs them to likewise comfort others with the same words of comfort he gave them. Yes, comfort is the overriding theme of the rapture and why I believe strongly that John 14:2-3 speaks of the rapture.