Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
If the cross shows what the world thought of Jesus, then the empty tomb shows what the Father thinks of Him. The risen Jesus stands victorious and sends Mary Magdalene: “go to my brothers”. The same men who abandoned and denied Him, He now tenderly calls His ‘brothers’. Having come down from the Father to take us to the Father, Jesus readies to return back to Him.
Thus, Jesus sends Mary Magdalene to His brothers with triumphant words: “I am ascending to my Father and your Father”. Jesus’ words reveal the disciples’ new relationship with Him, as they are now brothers. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection they belong to the family of God. They, along with all who come to Jesus, are embraced in the fellowship of Jesus with the Father.
Jesus triumphs on this Easter Sunday! Jesus wins the day! He has opened the way for all to come close to the Father’s heart. The Father sends the Holy Spirit to live within all who believe in Jesus, stirring within the bold cry, “Abba! Daddy! Father!”
“And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Galatians 4:6).
Developmental psychologists say that children learn to speak between 14 and 18 months in age. Their first sounds are primary sounds such as ‘Ma ma ma ma”, or “Da da, da, da.” A little Jewish child in Jesus’ day, speaking Aramaic, would utter first sounds such as “Ab ab ab abba”. Abba was the little child’s name for “father”, much like “daddy” in our colloquial speech. As Jesus has brought us close to the Father’s heart, making His Father our Father, so the Holy Spirit teaches us to cry out to the Father, “Abba Daddy!”
It is one thing to know this about our Father, and quite another to experience it. Brennan Manning, writing in Abba’s Child, suggests a spiritual practice that you might find helpful. It can help us take what we know in our head and make it real in our heart. Manning suggests the following:
- Sit in a chair, kneel, or lie on your bed for a few moments and relax in the Father’s presence. A few deep breaths can be helpful for relaxing.
- Once relaxed: breathe in while saying “Abba”, and breathe out saying “I belong to You”.
- Slowly, prayerfully repeat these words for the next several moments “Abba” (breathing in), “I belong to You” (breathing out).
- End this time of prayerful meditation by praying The Lord’s Prayer or The Our Father.
- Then take this prayer with you into your day, and live close to the Father’s heart. “Abba, I belong to You”.
What are there in Jesus’ words today to know; to feel; to do?
We are laid open to eternity
For Easter love has burst His tomb and ours.
Now nothing shelters us from God’s desire—
Not flesh, not sky, not stars, not even sin.
Now glory waits so He can enter in.
Now does the dance begin.