Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for 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.’” John 20:17 (ESV)
When Jesus, the morning of his resurrection surprised heartbroken Mary she did not recognize Him because she was not expecting in any way to encounter Him alive. She’s desperate to find Jesus’ dead body. Then he opens her understanding by calling her name. Probably in the way only he had ever called Mary’s name. Her reaction is to grab ahold of Jesus. Mary was expressing a desire to hold on to His physical presence likely for fear that she would once again lose Him. Jesus mentions His ascension which suggested that He would only be temporarily with them. Mary intensely wanted Him to stay, but He could not. We notice Jesus told Mary to go “to my brothers” with the news of his soon ascension. Jesus remained with them for only 40 days making appearances before his ascension. But this is the first time Jesus called them “brothers.” The Disciples had been called “slaves” or “friends”, but not “brothers,” until here. Because Jesus’ work on the cross in place of the sinner, was completed, this new family relationship to Christ was possible. Now all that had be promised to those chosen by the Father was a done deal.
“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” – John 6:37 (ESV)
Some of the promises of God that we find in our Bible are difficult to understand. Why is this? Mostly it is because the promise conflicts with our own reasoning. It just doesn’t fit the way we think things are or should be. Some think their reasoning supersedes God’s words. Those who believe the Bible to be God’s Word believe that everything the Bible says is true. Even historical accounts in the Bible are accurate. Today’s promise is one of those passages but it is wonderful to accept and believe, if we will by faith. Our verse sheds light on the sovereign will of God in the selection of those who come to Him for salvation. God the Father has predestined all those who would be saved. Based totally on the sovereignty of God, Jesus is absolutely confident in the success of His mission. The security of our salvation rests in the sovereignty of God’s will, because when God promises⸺it’s a guarantee. “All” He has chosen will come to Him for salvation. Whom the Father gives will come to the Son, Jesus Christ. We are a gift of the Father’s love; we are a love-gift to the Son.
“For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” – Ephesians 2:18 (ESV)
One precious truth about believing in Jesus Christ that is not offered in any other religion is that we have access to God our Father. No sinner has any right or worthiness in himself for access to God, but believers have been granted that right through faith in Christ’s sacrificial death. The resources of the Trinity belong to believers the moment they receive Christ, and the Holy Spirit presents us before the heavenly throne of God the Father, where we are welcome to come with boldness at any time. We might think of our access as our introduction to the Father. But it seems better to understand that Christ gives us access to our heavenly Father as our Savior and our advocate. This access is also by faith into the grace of God in which we stand (Romans 5:2). In the next verse we are promised standing as citizens with all who are set apart in holiness and therefore in God’s household. We are IN by faith in Jesus through what the Holy Spirit has provided to us, direct access to God. We need no human intermediary, God accepts our prayers, our confessions, our faith one on one.
“When I was a son to my father, tender and the only son in the sight of my mother, Then he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live;” – Proverbs 4:3-4 (NASB)
Remember the manner we were taught the ways of life by our parents when we were very young? Our parents taught us what they had learned from their father and mother and life experiences. In our verses today Solomon spoke of this boyhood training when his parents King David and Bathsheba would teach him. He was then their only child, though later he had three brothers. In verse four Solomon quotes his father David and will continue the quote through verse nine. Solomon is was passing the instruction he received from his father to his sons (v.1). Solomon knew the importance of the sound teaching as he had received. The admonition to let “your heart hold fast my words” might be also said as “obey my words wholeheartedly.” That is what we want our children to do when we teach them. That is what God wants us to do when He teaches us. Keeping the commandments of God and loving Him with all our heart is the way to live in righteousness before Him. When we heed this teaching and the rest of this passage, we find and receive great value in understanding and observing God’s commandments.
“It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” – Hebrews 12:7 (NASB)
Discipline is a two-way street. Every true believer in Jesus receives opportunity to grow through the discipline God sends our way and thrive in spiritual growth, stronger faith, and increasing knowledge of God. Other’s buck against it and end up going the other way. They refuse to learn the lessons God gives them, causing them to miss the blessing and benefit. In times of adversity, says the author of Hebrews, keep in mind that all our setbacks come from God; He is training us in godliness because He has accepted us as sons and daughters in His eternal family. He wants the very best for us. The difficulties we encounter are blessings in disguise, for behind our difficulties stands a loving Father who is giving us what is best. As God’s children, then, we must always look beyond our trials and realize that God himself is at work in their lives training us to trust Him. Discipline that reproves teaches us to have character that is disciplined. It is a sign of God’s parentage of us. It is a confirmation God really loves us for whom He loves, He reproves and discipline. When disciplined, let’s repent and be zealous.
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” – John 14:6-7 (ESV)
Our promise today is pure, and powerful. For all who hope to live in heaven after our time on earth is over, Jesus is the only Way there. There are no options to having faith in Jesus the Christ. Jesus is speaking to His disciples about His death and departure and they still do not understand. Jesus tells them He is going to be leaving them but one day He will return for them. “You know the way to where I am going.” (John 14:4) But Thomas says, “No, Lord we don’t know where you are going, how do you expect us to know the way?” Thomas needed to understand that “The Way” was not a pathway or route to heaven but the means to receive eternal life and a reservation e in heaven, then these words make sense. Jesus the Son of God and God the Father; – to know one, is to know the other and The Way. No pretense, no self-effort, no good enough, no buying our way; it is only in believing Jesus, His sacrifice and resurrection. If you know Jesus as Savior and Lord, you know God the Father, you know The Way.
“In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” John 16:26–27 (ESV)
We learned a couple days ago in Apostle Paul’s first letter to Timothy, that there is only on mediator between us and God Almighty who is Holy and Righteous in all things. Becoming and being our go-between was the essential work and mission of Jesus, the Son of God. Those who believe in Jesus Christ and in what He has done for us, will often think of Him not as a negotiator but as a mediator working on our behalf. The Bible says Jesus does that for us and He is the only one between us and God who can mediate for us. That is exactly what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross for our sin, rising from the grace, and opened a direct pathway between us and God our Father. That is the promise in today’s verses. Jesus tells us, that believing in Him and loving Him is the way to go directly to God. We are not required to go through any intermediary and we don’t need Jesus to be more of a Mediator than He is. God the Father loves us and gives us the right of in-person audiences before Our Father God.
“ O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:25-26 (ESV)
The last meal Jesus had with His disciples was His last Passover meal. He concludes his prayer with a call to the Righteous Father. The word translated “righteous” here doesn’t occur often in John’s Gospel. It’s significant as it’s His praise of the Father’s work of revelation. God our Father is right (righteous) and the world is in the wrong (“the world does not know You”). Jesus has known, and revealed the Father, and continues as Christians follow His example. The essence of God is love. Jesus revealed the Father and His love to the world in His own death and resurrection. And the Father made known His love for the Son by raising Him to glory. Jesus’ purpose in revealing the Father was that Christians would continue to grow in that love, that the Father’s love for the Son may be in them, and to enjoy the personal presence of Jesus in their lives and “I in them. Jesus has four petitions for believers: preservation (John 17:11), sanctification (John 17:17), unity (John 17:11, 21–22), and participation in Jesus’ glory (John 17:24). This prayer is answered every day with the conversion of each lost soul.