‘Jesus said to [Mary], “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. Here’s a couple of questions for you, can think of anywhere in the Bible that Gospels that God is called the Father of anyone but Jesus? And can you think of anywhere where Jesus calls his disciples brothers before he was resurrected?
The question I asked at the top, Can think of anywhere in the Bible that Gospels that God is called the Father of anyone but Jesus? And can you think of anywhere where Jesus calls his disciples brothers before he was resurrected?
Of course you can, The giving of the Lord’s prayer is the obvious one, then there’s this:
And stretching out his hand towards his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:49-50
But something new is happening in John 20. In the above examples Jesus does not address his disciples as his brothers. Neither are they addressed that way in John 1:12, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” It is established that anyone who does the will of God, or who accepts Jesus is a child of God.
The disciples of Jesus and the brothers and sisters of Jesus were separate categories. Disciples are people who followed Jesus, whilst his brothers did not. John 20:17 (and the parallel passage in Matthew 28:10) is the first place where God is explicitly called Father of anyone but Jesus himself. There has been an abrupt change, brothers now refers to the disciples. There has been a change in the relationship of Jesus with the Father, the Holy Trinity is forever changed, and believers are now included.
This is how Paul describes the change:
But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.
So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.Galatians 3:25-26, 4:7
These “in Christ Jesus” passages are important. We have died in Christ Jesus, we have been raised in Christ Jesus, we have ascended into heaven in Christ Jesus and are sat down at the right hand of the Father in Christ Jesus. That is the situation of believers in Jesus, we share in the death, resurrection, ascension and reward of Jesus. In him we are heirs of the kingdom of God.