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“Don’t Touch Me!” — Why Not?

20 Apr

Empty TombNow after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”

And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus *said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.” [Matthew 28:1-10]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Jesus *said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she *said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus *said to her, “Mary!” She turned and *said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher). Jesus *said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene *came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had said these things to her. [John 20:15-18]

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There are two accounts of the first few hours of Resurrection Day, from two different Gospels. So much wonder, beauty here. So much we could speak of. But today, I’m simply going to savor the day… and point out an “odd thing” here, it seemed to me for a long time.

Both passages clearly express the feelings of the women who came to the Tomb. Great grief, ready to anoint His body properly, confusion at the empty Tomb. Then, the first passage shows us how overwhelming their joy was when He appeared to them directly (verses 9 & 10). They bowed down and worshiped Him, taking hold of His feet. (Would we do any different? I doubt it.) He sends them on to the Disciples, to deliver His orders. (By the way, they are not believed… but anyway.)

In the second passage, we see Mary Magdalene grieving, distraught at His body having been stolen. Jesus comes upon her quietly incognito and asks why she is so sad. She tells Him. (Did He plan to reveal Himself before she exposed her pain? Was His “original plan” just to deliver His message and go His way? Did her tears move His compassion to reveal Himself? How often do our tears move His compassion to reveal Himself, when He may not originally have planned to? — Sorry, those are the kinds of questions that come to me when I ponder Him in scripture.)

Jesus reveals Himself, simply by speaking her name with all that Love in His heart. She melts, calling out to Him AS HER TEACHER! “Rabboni”.

But, that’s when Jesus does something very strange, indeed. Grief or not, compassion or not, love or not, joy or not… He forbids her from touching Him! Really? REALLY? Is He KIDDING? No, He’s not. He gives a very specific reason not to be touched…

“Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’”

What a strange thing to say… Certainly it must have seemed so for those who heard Him that day. And this passage confused me for a long time. But one day, when I realized that as I grew in my own maturity in Christ, Jesus’ relationship changed with/to/in me. Is He my Lord, Savior, Master, God? Yes… all of that… yes. But ALSO, as I have become an adult in the Father’s House, Jesus has become very much my Friend, my Captain, and beyond all else, My Big Brother. (Now, I was blessed in this life to HAVE an incredibly wonderful Big Brother, so this has not been a difficult transition.)

Now, as I’ve grown up, did Jesus CHANGE? Of course not. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. But with reference to me, my life, my experience, His relationship has changed over time. What’s more, the “old relationship” has to pass away, to make room for the new.

I’ve spoken before of absolutely fabulous teaching that has blessed my life. I have worked with and for some incredible men and women of God. They poured themselves out to help me grow and learn and serve, and any good you see in me is to their credit and God’s. (My faults and failings are entirely my own, thank you!) But over time, these wonderful people have become peers and colleagues… no longer mentors and teachers. Oh, that’s not to say I still don’t learn tremendously from them, or that I do not seek their counsel from time to time. But equally they sometimes learn from me, or seek my counsel. The relationships have changed. They’ve grown RICHER, but distinctly different.

Jesus, through the Cross, had changed not just the Universe… but EVERYTHING. His relationships with those who had loved Him in His earthly life had changed. There was going to be more change. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit was to come, and He would be INSIDE them!

This Resurrection Day was the beginning of this “interim time” between the Cross and the Pentecost. And it was of critical importance to Him that they, ALL of them, Disciples, family, holy women… everyone… begin to release and let go the Old relationship with Him as “Wandering Rabbi”… and prepare for the new relationship with Him as Glorious Lord Within.

Please notice the strange words He wraps around His instructions to the Disciples…

“Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” 

He must ascend to the Father, yes. But He takes great pains specifically to point out… “brethren”… “My Father and yours”… “My God and yours”… These are words of equality, peerage. These are words I would never dare to say but that He said them intently and first.

He puts Himself, now, and “His brethren”… on level and equal ground.

I haven’t got all the answers about this, Gentle Brethren. I just point it out. And He brought it to me very intently, when I asked about the “Why Don’t Touch”?

He no longer wanted to be seen in His old relationship. That needed to make way for this New One. As Firstborn among many brethren, that we be joint heir with Him.

More to come…

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2 Comments

Posted by on April 20, 2014 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

2 responses to ““Don’t Touch Me!” — Why Not?

  1. Messenger At The Crossroads

    April 21, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    Thank you for sharing these amazing insights. I have wondered about this, and I think you have been blessed with some clues.

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  2. insideheathershead

    April 23, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    Wow, LM, this post fed me deeply. Paul and I have been having a similar discussion about this same passage. The whole equality and peerage of the “Your” and “My”. He opened us up to the “Our”. He made the “Our” impossible. Praise Him!
    Thank you so much for this insightful post and for listening closely to God to share your insight with others. I needed this.

    Like

     

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