John 20:11-18

11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb.

12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

13 Then they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?"She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him."

14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.

15 Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?"She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, "Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away."

16 Jesus said to her, "Mary!"She turned and said to Him, "Rabboni!" (which is to say, Teacher).

17 Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'"

18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.

Perhaps angels had been guarding the body ever since it was first laid in the tomb (Psalm 91:11) but were invisible to Peter and John. Their presence should have convinced Mary that all was well.

Jesus evidently hid His identity at first, as He did on the road to Emmaus. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer (2 Corinthians 5:16).

Whom are you seeking? (v. 15) — This is perhaps a gentle rebuke. Why search for God among the dead?

brethren (v. 17) — after His resurrection, Jesus called His disciples brothers (Hebrews 2:11-14).

We see in [Matthew] the Lord Jesus Christ, as the Son of David, coming to His own as the promised King. He preached the Kingdom and that was rejected. Then He died and rose from among the dead. one characteristic feature of the Gospel of Matthew is that nothing is said of the ascension. If we had only the Gospel of Matthew we would have to believe that the risen Christ never left the earth, but is still here in person. The evident purpose of this is to show that the Son of David will some day be the King on earth, as it is so abundantly predicted in the prophetic Word. At the close of the Gospel of Matthew the Lord is seen resuming His relation with the Jewish remnant. The women who held Him by the feet and worshiped Him represented typically that remnant, who will, after His return, enjoy His kingly presence on earth.

But this is not the viewpoint of the Gospel of John. Here we are outside the kingdom aspect; a new order of things is to be introduced and a new relationship is to be established. As the risen Christ He ascended on high to take His place at the right hand of God. He is now to be regarded not in His bodily presence here on earth, but as the object of faith, received up in glory. To exemplify this the Lord Jesus Christ told Mary not to touch Him, for He was not yet ascended to His Father. After His ascension believers are brought into a spiritual union with Him, and know Him no longer after the flesh, but know Him as glorified in heaven; and through Him know His Father, as their Father, and His God, as their God. The command to Mary "Touch Me not" has therefore an interesting and deep symbolical meaning. The earthly relationship with the the Jews ceases and a new relationship, the heavenly, is to be introduced. In the earthly relationship with the Jewish remnant, resumed at our Lord's return, He will be bodily present in the kingdom; but in the heavenly relationship He is bodily absent and believers are in a heavenly union with the risen Christ. — The Gospel of John, by Arno Clemens Gaebelein, page 389-390

Her [Mary's] immediate response was to touch Him and cling to Him. But Jesus stopped her: "Do not hold on to Me," which could also be translated "stop clinging to me." The Greek verb underlying "clinging" is a resent imperative. The action had already begun when Jesus spoke this to Mary. He was not preventing Mary from touching Him (which would be the meaning if an aorist imperative had been used). Perhaps Mary wanted to hold Jesus and so recapture the former relationship with Him or make sure He didn't leave her. But Jesus was indicating that He had entered into a new, spiritual realm as the result of His resurrection. Life was not as it had been before. — Opening the Gospel of John, by Philip W. Comfort and Wendell C. Hawley, page 319.

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