Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” John 20:17

Jesus spoke these words to Mary Magdalene on the day of His resurrection. There is an emphasis He made here: “my Father and your Father”; “my God and your God.” The relationship Jesus had with God the Father was something He wanted us to realize and have ourselves. The God of the Universe, the God who created all things, the God who was before anything and anyone, the God whose will He obeyed, the Great I AM—He is our Father, too.

What Jesus did on the cross was to allow us incredible access to our Father God. Many times, we forget this little detail. We tend to remember the basic things of Christ’s sacrifice: Jesus died on the cross to save man from sin and to give him eternal life.  This is true, but the relationship aspect of Jesus’ death—that of bringing us to the Father– should not be forgotten.

In John 14:6, Jesus says,  “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This verse is often used to show people that salvation is available for mankind ONLY through Jesus and not through other gods, mediators, religion, good works… the list goes on. And yes, it is true: salvation is only through Jesus.

Yet the relational aspect of this verse is weighty and should never be forgotten. Note the destination of this verse; the destination of Jesus being the way, truth, and life.  If Jesus IS the way, then the logical question we must ask is this: He is the way to what? Heaven and eternal life are certainly part of the equation, but we should see something RELATIONALLY: Jesus is the way to the Father. The FATHER.

I love how Jesus valued relationship, especially in His explanation of eternal life. Jesus says this in John 17:3: “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

Eternal life is more than man’s historical quest to live forever. It is more than man’s comfort after death.  Let’s let that sink in our hearts. The goal of Jesus’ death and resurrection was reconciling relationship: God with us; us with God. Yes, there is Heaven. Yes, there is life everlasting available for those who believe in Christ. Yes, there is freedom from sin. But do we know God? Do we know the Father? Can we feel the liberty and awesome family privilege of going to our Father and crying, “Abba!” or “Daddy!”? Is there warmth in our relationship? Do we know His voice?

When Jesus was asked what the most important command was, He answered this: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:36-38). To know God isn’t just a mental exercise. It is to love Him!

While on earth, one of the things Jesus taught His disciples was how to pray. He wanted them (and us!) to see that God in Heaven was not just a God; He was a Father who could be addressed as such.

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven…”
(Matthew 5:9-10)

As we go through this life, eternity beats in our hearts. The Father whispers that He be known by us. Do we respond to His call? He’s loved us all throughout millennia. Can we love Him back? An eternity of knowing Him can start now.