On the very first Easter morning the resurrected Jesus met Mary Magdalene and told her to tell the rest of his disciples “I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” The very fact that he was alive was the most earth-shattering, game-changing, totally unexpected news: the crucified Jesus had broken the power of death once and for all! But there was more! As a result of his death and resurrection, the God and Father of Jesus Christ could now be described as your Father and your God.
Jesus had (very radically) taught them to pray to God as Our Father, but it seems the disciples before Easter hadn’t experienced that intimate relationship with God in anything like the way that Jesus himself did. That personal knowledge of God hadn’t grasped them. There was still a distance, a remoteness, a feeling of “we try to be holy, but that’s a bit too personal.” But now suddenly Jesus himself asserts that they really are family, God’s family, simply because they know the risen Jesus.
That’s the difference Easter makes. Jesus really did die for each one of us, me and you, to take away, to forgive, to remove all barriers between us and God. His resurrection is God’s “Yes!” to that self-giving love. We are loved, accepted, adopted, included – not because of anything we have done, but because of what Jesus has done for us. That’s the difference between knowing about God and knowing God. That’s what Thomas (no longer “doubting”) meant when he met Jesus and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” I pray that you can truly say that yourself too. Happy Easter!