A Heaven with No Jesus?

Pastor and author John Piper asks this intriguing and revealing question about heaven: “If you could have heaven, with no sickness, with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasure you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there? 

Imagine that – a heaven with no Jesus.

Would you be satisfied?

All too often, I think many of us would be happy with a heaven like that.

I say this for two reasons:

First, when we talk or think or sing about heaven, we often do so without reference to Jesus. We talk about seeing our loved ones or being free from pain and sorrow, and those things seem to be the real drawing point for us. 

Second, in our lives here on earth, we often pursue a relationship with Jesus for the blessings it brings us – a better marriage, a stronger family, peace and emotional stability, deliverance from harmful habits and addictions, greater purpose and meaning in life – rather than seeking to know Jesus simply for the joy of knowing Jesus.

When Jesus talks about heaven, He mainly talks about us being with Him:

“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, NKJV).

Heaven is not about being with our departed loved ones (though they will be there, if they were believers) or walking on streets of gold (though the streets will be made of gold there). Heaven is primarily and preeminently about being with Jesus.

Similarly, when Paul talks about the goal of the Christian life, he talks about it in terms of knowing Christ, not about the earthly benefits of being a Christian:

“Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:8-11, NKJV).

Jesus Christ will be what makes heaven heavenly, and knowing Him makes life on earth worthwhile, as well!

Have a great day, and keep moving forward!

Suggested Bible Reading

Colossians 1:9-23

Prayer Guide

As you pray today …

Ask for a deeper love and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Cry out to God for a heart that is focused on Jesus Himself, and not merely the blessings He offers you.

Praise the Lord and give thanks to Jesus for dying on the cross to reconcile us to God.

Pray that today you will be grounded and steadfast in Christ, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel.