Have you ever wondered how it’s possible that we can call God “Father?” The passage below provides us with the answer.
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
If you’ve ever talked to someone who has travelled the journey of adopting a child, you’ll know it’s a very involved process. The paperwork is staggering. The cost can be massive. Emotionally and financially, it’s an enormous undertaking.
From God’s point of view, bringing people like us into his family has a huge cost beyond imagining. Jesus had to die to make this adoption possible, as he paid the cost for our sins. Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead makes it possible for God to forgive us and take us into his family.
Verse 17 above makes this truth clear in a wonderful way. The risen Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene near his tomb, just as dawn’s breaking. She hears the gardener coming up behind her. Except it’s not the gardener at all. She soon realises who it is and throws herself at Jesus’ feet and holds on to him. And then Jesus says something stunning…
All the way through John’s Gospel Jesus has called God ‘my father’ dozens of times – in a very personal way. Or else he calls him ‘the father’ – in a very general way. But there’s no point before the cross, not one single time before he dies, that he says what he says here: “your father.” Yet now he does! Not only that, he calls the disciples “my brothers”, which he’s never called them until this moment. Something has changed. Something big has changed!
Jesus makes it possible for people like us to become children of God. In his death and resurrection Jesus has poured out God’s Spirit into our hearts. Jesus is our brother. God is our Father.
His father. My father. Your father!
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. – John 1:12-13
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” – John 3:3
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.” – John 3:5
Head: What have you learnt about the fatherhood of God?
Heart: What does it mean to you to be able to call God – our unconditionally loving God – “Father?”
Hands: How might you live differently today, identifying as someone who has Jesus as your brother and God as your Father?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you that you went to such great cost to adopt me into your family. Thank you that I can call Jesus my brother. Thank you that I can call you Father. Help this amazing identity to warm my heart and to affect all I do and say.
By the power of your Spirit,
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
A song to listen to: Man of Sorrows https://open.spotify.com/track/7kRc5L0VqfA2q8DCcyBgsZ
Steve Cree – Senior Pastor