Thinking Out Loud

April 1, 2018

He is Risen: Reaching Out to Give a Resurrected Jesus a Hug

Filed under: Christianity, Jesus — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:08 am

“Stop hugging me.”

In essence, that’s what Jesus to Mary in John 20:17. The scene is the moment where, realizing she is not speaking to someone tasked with taking care of the landscaping in the area surrounding Joseph of Arimathea’s donated tomb, she realizes it is Jesus.

But why the admonition, “Don’t touch me”?

I’ve set the following as a quotation because these aren’t my ideas, though I have greatly paraphrased from the Expositor’s Bible Commentary.1

Was it partly because she’d been crying? It wasn’t because Jesus had assumed the clothes or borrowed the gardener’s work clothes, but because he was the likeliest person to be going about the garden at that early hour.

But then he says her name. First it’s the realization that this is someone who knows her, but then something else stirs; there’s a dawning that there’s something very familiar about this voice. And then there’s more, a fuller understanding of all the implications of what has taken place and is taking place in that moment. He’s alive!

She springs toward him. As the fear of this supernatural encounter turns to joy, wouldn’t you? But she’s met with these words: “Mary, you cannot hold Me. I must rise above this world to be with My Father, who is also your Father.”2  Wait, what?

Various reasons have been given:

  1. It was simply improper. Problem is, he didn’t stop the woman at the dinner table who kissed his feet, even though that was rather scandalous.
  2. She wished to confirm the physical reality of his appearance. Nope. Doesn’t work either, as Jesus later encouraged the disciples to verify his physicality by virtue of eating fish and allowing Thomas to place his hands in the nail holes left by the cross.
  3. It would disrupt the force which was allowing him to manifest in his glorified body. That is to say, glorification was a work in process at that point, and she needed to wait for the completion of that.

We can reject those possibilities because he gives the reason: “I have not yet ascended to the Father.”3

Those who love Him on earth must learn to live without the physical appearance, the actual seeing, touching, hearing, of the well-known Master. There must be no more kissing of His feet, but a reverence of a sterner, deeper sort; there must be no more sitting at table with Him, and filling the mind with His words, until they sit down with Him in the Father’s presence. Meanwhile His friends must walk by faith, not by sight they would need to learn the truer faithfulness that serves an absent Lord; they must acquire the independent and inherent love of righteousness which can freely grow only when relieved from the commanding pressure of a visible presence, encouraging us by sensible expressions of favor, guaranteeing us against defeat and danger. 

They would need to learn to walk by faith and not by sight. Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.” (John 20:29, The Message)

1 Expositor’s Commentary at Bible Hub
2 The Voice

April 1st is Christianity 201’s 8th Birthday!
While Christ’s resurrection is the dominant theme in our thoughts today and we don’t want to distract from that, our sister blog, Christianity 201 concluded its eighth year yesterday, and now begins year nine of providing daily devotional content and Bible study discussion material. Our motto continues to be “Digging a little deeper.” My hope is that we’ve provided helpful resources for your devotional and Bible study reading and have introduced you to many new authors who are doing the same online. ~Paul

1 Comment »

  1. Jesus is alive. Praise Jesus

    Comment by Angie — April 1, 2018 @ 6:52 am

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