Jesus said, ‘Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”‘John 20:17
This morning we continue to think about Jesus appearance to Mary on that first Easter Sunday. (John 20:11-18) Yesterday we thought about how Jesus knows us by name and uses our name in order to lift our eyes off the distractions and maybe even the disasters of life and focus on him.
In some regards today’s reflection seems to contradict yesterdays. Once Mary recognised Jesus voice and realised he had been raised from the dead she fell at his feet. This was an act of worship, love and a demonstration of how overwhelmed she was. It was the same as hugging a returning relative who had been away for a while. That sense of not wanting to let go, of being delighted to get our hands on a loved one once again. Mary was hugging Jesus in the same way so many grandparents will hug grandchildren once the corona-virus restrictions are lifted.
Jesus response was interesting, ‘Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.“‘
If Mary had held on to Jesus she would have prevented him from finishing his work. Jesus resurrection could not be completed until he’d ascended to the Father. His work of salvation needed him to take his place at the Father’s side. Mary had to let go.
Notice also how Jesus gave Mary a task… ‘Go instead to my brothers and tell them…‘
When Jesus calls us by name lifting our eyes of our own circumstances it’s so we would worship him. Yet that worship cannot nor should not be restricted to me and Jesus on our own. True worship is not simply the relationship I or we have with Jesus. We cannot hold onto Jesus as though keeping him for ourselves. True worship involves obedience to the command ‘…Go instead…‘
How are we involving others in our worship? How do we incorporate the command to make known the good news that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead? Who will we tell today?
The living Jesus knows us by name, but he also tells us to let go that we might …go instead…
Prayer Lord Jesus Christ, I am overwhelmed at the news that you are not only risen from the dead but that you call me by name. My every instinct is to take hold of you and hold on, to blot out everything else focusing only on you. Yet Lord, you have told me to go instead. May my worship today be expanded to include making known to others the good news that you are indeed risen from the dead. Amen
Other reflections from Moneydig Presbyterian Church