The Living Father
The exclusivity of Jesus’ sonship actually becomes the means through which others may receive the life and freedom that characterizes the true “children of God.”
Ultimately it will be through Jesus’ death and resurrection that others are empowered to enter into such a relationship. The command of the risen Jesus to Mary makes clear the new situation: “Jesus said to her ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and sisters and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God'” (Jn 20:17). This is the first use of “brothers and sisters” (adelphous) to refer to Jesus” disciples, and the first and only reference to God as “your Father” in a positive way (contrast 8:41, 42, 44). Still there is no reference in John to God as “our Father” in which Jesus includes the disciples together with himself in such address. The differences between the relationship of Jesus to the Father remain, but, through the life-giving work of the Son, the disciples – and others – enter into the relationship of kinship granted to them by the Son. Not surprisingly, after Jesus’ resurrection, his disciples are referred to with the familiar NT designation adelphoi (‘brothers and sisters”; 21:23), a term that plays an important role in 1 John as the basis for the call to unity and love (1 John 3:13-16).
The God of The Gospel of John
Marianne Meye Thompson