Mary comes to the tomb of Jesus. She shows great courage, love, and devotion. She weeps. In fact, she weeps so much that she does not recognize that the one before her is Jesus. When Jesus calls her name, she recognizes. She cries out, “Rabboni,” and embraces him.
At this point, Jesus says something that does not seem to add up. He says, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.” Why would Jesus say this? Should he not embrace her and console her? When we examine Jesus’ actions carefully, there is logic and most of all great love.
Let me explain by way of a story. My daughter whimpers. So, I come. I check her diaper; she is clean. I check to see if she is hungry; she is not. I try to burp her. No luck. What she wants is her father. She wants his embrace. She wants his familiar smell. She wants to feel the rhythm of his heart next to hers. She wants to be held. So, I comply for a while. But the truth of the matter is that I must leave at one point. Even if I wanted to the embrace her forever, I must stop. Human embraces cease.
You see Jesus knows something. The embrace that Mary wanted was only temporary. Jesus knows what Mary needs most; he knows what we all need most. We need him. So, he dies, rises again, and ascends to come back down to dwell with us forever. This is more than a human embrace. It is the embrace of God – nothing less than union with Christ. It is what we need most.
From this perspective, Jesus is teaching Mary a valuable lesson. She must realize that there is something more profound than an earthly embrace; there is a heavenly one. There is the reality of spiritual fellowship that cannot be broken in Christ.
May we find out joy, satisfaction, and meaning in Christ and share these things with others. And if we are parents, let us show our children that there is a heavenly father.Tags: John 20:11-18, Mary, Theology, Tomb