I was marking my young pupil’s Postal Bible Club papers a few days ago when I was struck by Jesus’ words to Mary Magdalene on the very first Easter Sunday morning. Jesus had just risen from the dead after His brutal crucifixion. At first Mary didn’t recognise Him, she thought He was the gardener. She was in distress because she thought someone had stolen Jesus’ body away. Can you imagine how awful that was for her? I guess most of us have stood beside the graveside of someone we love. The added pain of believing the body has been maliciously tampered with is almost incalculable. But in Mary’s case, light suddenly dawned for her as Jesus said her name, ‘Mary,’ and she realised who it was. But what struck me afresh in this account is the message Jesus asked Mary to give to His disciples:
‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.’
What jubilation must have flooded through Jesus as He gave Mary this wonderful message. Because of all He had suffered at the cross – the physical agony, the terrible shame, the revolting, dark mess of our sin, an eternity of Hell compressed into three excruciating hours – Jesus now had the joyful authority of announcing that the Door to Heaven was finally open for sinful humanity to go through. To those who love Him, trust Him and utterly believe that He is the Son of God and the only Way to God, He triumphantly announces that His Father is now our Father!
This is what eternal life is, to know the one true God, ‘and Jesus Christ whom [He] sent’. Doesn’t your heart burn within you as the Holy Spirit makes this truth real to you?! God the Father entrusted everything to Jesus. No one truly knows the Father apart from Jesus the Son, and no one truly knows Jesus apart from the Father. But Jesus came in order to reveal the Father to us so that we can be drawn into their embrace, and know the same eternally intimate relationship that the Father and the Son share. Do you get it?! May the Holy Spirit illuminate our thinking more-and-more so that we will take hold of this great and glorious hope (Matthew 11:27).
Jesus died, rose again and ascended to Heaven with an announcement and an invitation: His Father can become our Father; His God can become our God. Come to Him, you who are weary and burdened. Take His yoke upon you and learn from Him because He is gentle and humble in heart. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.