Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
What a loaded comment Jesus said to Mary. Mary wanted to hug Jesus. It’s a human and natural reaction. But Jesus rebuffs her and says, “Do not cling to me.” He’s making a bigger point and using Mary’s love for him as the foundation for how those who love Him will connect with Him after His resurrection.
We’re again dealing with mysteries of Jesus’ mode of being. Prior to His death, He lived as a human body in the typical earthly mode of being. In that mode of being, hugging those you love is expected and normal. But with Jesus’ new mode of being, things change.
Most important is Jesus’ statement that Mary not cling to Him, for he has not yet ascended to the Father. Jesus ascending to the Father is critical moment in salvation history. It’s at that moment that Jesus restores what Adam had lost when he and Eve lost fellowship with God in the garden. Adam was in fellowship with the Father, but was severed from God when he was cast out of the garden, blocked from fellowship by the angel’s flaming sword.
But at Jesus’ birth, we get a foretaste of the glories to come, when the angels give the shepherds a vision of the re-opened gate to Paradise. God and man were one in Christ. After Jesus’ full mission was complete, and He sat down at the right hand of the Father, now what belonged to Jesus could be made available to all of us.
For listen to what Jesus had to say about His sitting at God’s right hand, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. …He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.”
Right here we get the explanation why Mary could not hug Jesus. The way we hug Jesus after His resurrection is by grasping those things He has available for us by returning to the right hand of the Father. What are those things? Well, primary among them is fellowship with the Father. Also, the status of sonship. Eternal life. The riches and glories of heaven. These things belong to Jesus, and once He sits down at the right hand of the Father, He sends out the Holy Spirit to deliver these things by way of declaration.
So we “hug” Jesus by hearing and receiving what He has for us by way of the Holy Spirit’s declaration. “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.” But once He ascends and sits at His right hand, He sends the Spirit out, who gives to us by declaration what Jesus possesses. That’s who we “cling” to Jesus post-resurrection.
There’s another little blessing Jesus bestows by His comments. He says, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
This is a perfect example of what Jesus bestows to us. This is what He delivers to us by declaration of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is the only-begotten Son of the Father. God has one son. But here, Jesus shares what He possesses with us. “My Father and your Father.” His Father is now ours because the thing that separated us from being God’s children – sin – has been atoned for, eliminated by His death.
God has one son, Jesus. If Jesus would share that with us, it’s because we are one flesh with Him. Again, this is something Jesus shares with us only once He sits down at God’s right hand, and sends out the Holy Spirit, who delivers by declaration what Jesus Himself possesses.
Don’t cling to Jesus, until He sits down at God’s right hand, restoring our fellowship with God, and sends the Holy Spirit to deliver to us by declaration what Jesus now possesses, once He restored on behalf of all mankind what mankind had lost in Adam.
Then, in that mode, might you hug Him.