In more than three decades of my Christian life, I have been blest by 2 types of Daily devos'
(matter not exceeding 500 words) in universal Christian literature. Not only those Devos'
which have a different theme everyday but also the ones which revolve around a certain
theme over a period of time, say a fortnight, have richly edified me. In fact, both
styles have their own inherent advantages. If the former style caters to the varying
spiritual needs of a christian from day-to-day, the latter aims 'to ground'
a child of God in a certain subject in order he derives the full benefits of the
deep insightful study of a certain topic, spread over a fixed span of time.
In my Daily devo page, I have consciously tried to go in for 'a blend of both the
styles' whereby within a constant theme, I would be aiming to focus on different
facets of it which admittedly is a closer imitation of the 'Constant theme' style
than the 'Varying topics' one.
Having dwelt on the topic of Christian journey and the “Conquest of Canaan”
in the previous months, now in the month of March, considering that
we are in the season of Lent, I intend to focus on the subject- “Lent season”.
Once again, let me wish you a happy and an edifying read…
At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not
realize that it was Jesus. "Woman," he said, "why are you crying?
Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir,
if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."
Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!"
(which means Teacher). Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father.
Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.' " -
John 20: 14-17
We shall continue to dwell on some of the legitimate resurrection-related doubts,
which have been troubling many well-meaning Christians. Today, we come to yet another
doubt highlighted below…
"After His resurrection, why did Jesus tell Mary not to touch Him,
but later tell Thomas to touch Him?"
Answer: Jesus tells Mary, “Touch Me not”
(John 20:17, KJV); but then later,
speaking to Thomas, He says, “Reach hither thy finger and behold My hands; and reach hither thy
hand, and thrust it into My side” (verse 27). The seeming incongruity of Jesus’
statements is resolved when we examine the language Jesus employed and consider the basic
difference between the two situations.
In John 20:17,
the word translated “touch” is a Greek word which means
“to cling to, to lay hold of.” This wasn’t just a touch; it was a grip. Obviously,
when Mary recognized Jesus, she immediately clung to Him.
Matthew 28:9 records the other
women doing the same thing when they saw the resurrected Christ.
Mary’s reaction was motivated, possibly, by several things. One is simply her loving
devotion to the Lord. Mary is overwhelmed by the events of the morning, and as her grief
turns to joy, she naturally embraces Jesus. Another motivation is Mary’s desire to restore
the fellowship that death had broken. She had lost Him once, and she was going to make sure
she didn’t lose Him again—she wanted to keep Jesus with her always. Most importantly,
Mary may have been thinking that this was the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to return
in which case He would take her (and all believers) with Him to heaven.
However, it was not Jesus’ plan to stay in this world always, and His resurrection was
not to be seen as His promised return. That is why He tells Mary of the ascension.
His plan was to ascend to the Father and then send the Holy Spirit
Fellowship with Jesus would continue, but it would be a spiritual communion, not a physical presence.
In loosening Mary’s hold on Him, Jesus was, in effect, saying this: “I know you desire to keep Me here,
always present with you. I know you want everything to be just the same as before I died.
But our relationship is about to change. I’m going to heaven, and you will have the Comforter
in My place. You need to start walking by faith, Mary, not by sight.”
When Jesus spoke to Thomas, it was not to counter a misplaced desire but to rebuke a lack of faith.
Thomas had said he would not believe until he had touched the living body of Jesus
Jesus, knowing all about Thomas’s declaration, offered His body as living proof of His resurrection.
This was something He did on another occasion as well
So, both Mary and Thomas needed more faith. Mary needed faith enough to let Jesus go.
Thomas needed faith enough to believe without empirical proof. Mary needed to loosen her grip;
Thomas needed to strengthen his. The resurrected Christ gave both of them the faith they needed.
Father, we know that without faith, we cannot please You. Even as we confess of our weak faith,
we pray that you strengthen it, in the only way you can. In Jesus’ name. Amen.