I don’t think many have asked the question “Who will get the biggest mansion in heaven?” Is it even a legit question? If so, who do you think? Moses? Elijah? The Virgin Mary? The Apostle Paul? Martin Luther? Hudson Taylor? Billy Graham?
I’d like to make a case that it’s a great question and the answer is someone you probably didn’t think of: John the Baptist.
Here’s why I believe that asking who will get the biggest mansion in heaven is a legit question and why I believe the answer might be John the Baptist:
01. We know we have mansions, or some heavenly equivalent, because of Jesus’ promise in John 14.
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye 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 unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3 KJV)
The King James Version here translates the Greek word “mansions.” What a heavenly mansion looks like, we don’t know.
But what is critical is to know that Jesus is preparing our heavenly home.
The way to make sure He is preparing one for you is found in the next verses: “Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:5-6 KJV)
Jesus said that He Himself is the way to get a place in heaven.
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02. Our mansions are built with the materials of our works.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV)
In 1 Corinthians 3 the Apostle Paul revealed crucial information about how the Bema Judgment will work:
“11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. 12 Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13 But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. 14 If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. 15 But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15 NLT)
You see, Jesus is our “foundation” (v. 11) and He is a sure foundation. Any truly saved person cannot lose their salvation. But after salvation we build on that foundation with works. They are either inferior (careless, meaningless) works represented by “wood, hay or straw” that will burn up in the Bema Judgment. Or, they will be great works represented by “gold, silver, jewels” which will be lasting.
Thus the greatest workers will receive the greatest mansions.
If you don’t think these will be literal mansions built with literal materials, that is fine. The point is that we will receive rewards for great works and conversely if we have not performed well we will “suffer great loss” (v. 15).
03. Jesus said there was no one greater than John the Baptist.
So who will receive the greatest mansion or reward in heaven?
I’d say John the Baptist. Why? Because Jesus said this: “Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist.” (Matthew 11:11a NIV)
Thus, John must get the biggest mansion in heaven because Jesus said there is no one greater than him.
Now some will disagree. And they might be right. In fact, Jesus said there could be others greater than John the Baptist: “…yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Matthew 11:11b NIV)
Thus, it is possible there are those who have become “least in the kingdom of heaven” that will have even bigger mansions in heaven.
So I’m holding lightly to this argument.
But here’s what we all can learn from this somewhat whimsical lesson: The biggest mansions in heaven (or rewards) will be given to the humblest servants of Christ Jesus.
Why did Jesus call John the Baptist the greatest? It was because of his humble servant attitude of lifting up Christ and allowing Himself to be lowered.
John had a successful ministry before Jesus arrived on the scene. He led a tremendous spiritual revival. He was baptizing many to repentance.
But we read that John’s ministry began to decline when Jesus came along. John’s followers became concerned: “And they came to John and said to him, ‘Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.’” (John 3:26 ESV)
John’s disciples were defecting to Jesus. But what was John’s response? John said: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30 ESV)
Do you want to have a major mansion in heaven, or the greatest reward, whatever that might look like? Then learn this lesson from John the Baptist: The greatest rewards in heaven goes to Christians who on earth are willing to “decrease” for Christ Jesus.
For John the Baptist that ultimately meant being killed for the cause of proclaiming salvation.
I wonder what this might mean for you and me?
For more help, here are other articles I’ve written on related topics: