Read Introduction to John

 

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.

 

20:17

Jesus said to her, “Do not cling [stop clinging] to Me,

Evidently Mary attempted to cling to Jesus. His rejection of physical contact at this point was not rejection of her human affection. The issue was that she had an important task to fulfill—she was to tell the disciples that Jesus has risen from the dead. There was no need to hold onto Him as if she would never see Him again.

for I have not yet ascended to My Father;

Jesus was in a transitory stage of His life. He had not yet ascended to the Father in His resurrection body; His glorification was not complete. He would not ascend to the Father for another 40 days (Lu 24:50-52; Ac 1:2-3, 9). His ascension had to do with the return to the assumption of authority that He had before the incarnation. The ascension was His glorification.

Mary need not worry about Jesus departing from her. He would not ascend to the Father for another 40 days. There was an urgency for her to tell the disciples that He had risen from the dead.

but go to My brethren and say to them,

Jesus commissioned Mary to testify about His resurrection (Mt 28:10). This was a special honor for her.

Our Lord referred to His disciples as “brethren” (He 2:11, 17). He shared their humanity.

I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ”

The ascension here was His ultimate return to the Father 40 days later. The first stage of Jesus’ ascension was the resurrection. Jesus must return to the Father before the Holy Spirit could come to permanently indwell the church.

Jesus did not say “our Father” and “our God.” His sonship was different than others’. There is a difference between what God was to the person of Christ and what He is to us. The Father was His in an essential sense, but this is not true with believers.

Although the relationship between the Father and Son would forever remain the same, there is a new, special fellowship with the living God for believers. The realm of the Son is now open to believers. Jesus is a Son by nature, but believers are sons by adoption (Ga 4:1-7).

20:18

Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord,

Mary publicized the news of Jesus’ resurrection to the disciples; she had personally seen the Lord. She was the first witness to the resurrection of Jesus.

and that He had spoken these things to her.

In addition to Jesus showing Himself to Mary, He had spoken to her. The disciples did not believe her or the other women who were with her (Lu 24:11).

PRINCIPLE:

It takes courage to do evangelism.

APPLICATION:

Many of us would rather sit at the feet of Jesus and learn from Him than carry His message to others. We would rather hold onto security than risk for our Lord. To share the gospel with the world takes courage and risks.

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