Have you ever had an exciting feeling at the end of a special time away? I know I feel that way after I'm gone from home, but especially after mission trips. I know that I have done the things God brought me to do and I am excited to watch His work, but it is time to return home. I can almost sense Jesus having this same reaction to His life work. He was sent to earth to do God's work. It seemed an impossible task, but with God's help He was victorious. He was done, it was time for Him to return to His Father.
Jesus appeared to Mary when she was crying outside His empty tomb. It hadbeen quite a morning. She got up as early as she could to go to the tombwith the other women to grieve and prepare Jesus’ body properly for death. Whenthe women arrived, they found an empty tomb and went to tell the disciples. Peterand John ran to the tomb and saw that the women weren't crazy in their grief,but had indeed discovered that the tomb was empty. Peter and John leftthe site, but Mary remained, crying in her grief.
Mary wasn’t alone in the graveyard. Suddenly she saw two angels inthe tomb seated where Jesus’ head and feet had lain. They spoke to her. Sheturned and saw Jesus, but she didn’t recognize Him. She thought Hewas a gardener who could tell her where they had taken Jesus’ body. Itwasn’t until he spoke her name that she knew it was Jesus. She grabbedonto Him.
Jesus’ words to Mary were few. He told her not to grab onto Him becauseHe had not returned to the Father. He told her to go and tell His disciplesthis message. "I am returning to my Father and your Father, to myGod and your God" (John 20:17.) I can almost feel the excitement inJesus’ voice. The victory was won and it was time for Him to returnto His Father. He couldn't wait.
Have you ever had a life changing experience that caused you to see what is reallyimportant? It’s almost as if your eyes are open for the first timeto something new. Jesus seems to have renewed vigor about the fact thatHe was going home and would soon bring us all with Him. Notice His excitementin the message to the disciples and Mary. Not only was Jesus returningto His Father, but He was returning to Mary's Father, the disciple's Father andyour Father. He was returning to His God, and your God.
Jesus’ life was all about returning to God. He didn’t returnto God empty handed. He returned with all of us who will believe on Hisname. He doesn't claim God for His own. He wants us to claim Himas our God and our Father.
Jesus has returned to His Father and His God. There is nothing He wantsmore than for you and me to return to our Father and our God. He made itpossible for us to know God as Father. We can return because of Jesus. Areyou ready and willing to return to God as Father?