“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.’ ”. John 20:17
No one had expected the empty tomb, and even now after Peter and John and Mary have seen the stone rolled away and the now uninhabited burial clothes lying in the unoccupied crypt still no one recalls Jesus’ promise that he would rise again and no one is rejoicing in Christ’s victory over sin and the grave.
John and Peter have left the burial place leaving Mary Magdalene weeping in her grief and bewilderment.
At this point it appears that Mary herself enters the tomb and now she sees two angels, one at each end of the place where Jesus’ body had lain. “Why are you crying,” they ask her.
“Because they have taken away my Lord and I don’t know where they have laid him.” Not even the presence of angels can shake Mary’s belief that Jesus is still dead.
Mary now turns and sees a third individual, a man. She assumes it’s a gardener so she doesn’t recognize that it’s, in fact, Jesus.
“Woman, why are you crying? Whom are you seeking?
“Sir, if you’ve carried him away tell me where you laid him and I will take him away.”
Now Jesus says her name, “Mary,” and at the sound of her name in his beloved voice she at last sees who it is right there in front of her and with amazement and rejoicing she cry’s out, “Teacher!”
Mary must have reflexively grabbed onto Jesus because he says to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father…”. Jesus hasn’t yet seen his Father. He hasn’t yet received the assurance that his sacrifice is enough. He doesn’t yet know whether or not he, having taken upon himself all our sin and guilt, will be able to abide with the Father again.
Now Jesus continues and says some of the most beautiful words in all of scripture, “…go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”
Jesus calls us his brothers and he calls his Father our Father. Because of what Jesus had done he has made us members of his own family. We’ll never be divine. We’ll always be created beings, made by God, but because of what Jesus has done we’ve become Sons and Daughters of God as well.
O friends, it’s time we stopped forgetting and disbelieving what Jesus has told us and begin accepting and living in the glorious hope and the reality of what God, through Jesus, has done for us. We are truly children of God.