Biblical Studies · General Spirituality

Do not cling to Me!

Why did the Lord appear to Mary Magdalene after the resurrection?

Why did He say to her ” Do not cling to Me,” (John 20:17)

While He allowed Saint Thomas to touch Him? (John 20:27). He, also, allowed the rest of the apostles to touch him. (Luke 24:39) Did He prevent her from touching Him because she is a woman?

Did He allow them to touch Him because they are men?

CLICK HERE to read POPE SHENOUDA’S contemplation on this verse!

7 thoughts on “Do not cling to Me!

  1. Thomas doubted Christ, therefore his faith wasnt as strong either yet he still touched Christ, was the difference that she denied three times?

    Plus i read another explanation by St Augustine in his Homilies on the gospel of St John that Christs ‘do not touch me’ was in regards to the divinity. That Mary did not understand that he is God and one with the father suggested by her weeping. your thoughts?

  2. Hey Kerestina thanks for the reply!

    You pose an interesting question in regards to Thomas. However i think there is a key difference between St Thomas and St Mary. The word used by Christ in regards to St Mary was “CLING” whereas with Thomas it was “TOUCH”.

    Metropolitan Bishoy writes the following about the account of St Mary.

    This time, reproaching her, He said, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father.” (Jn 20: 17). This was a severe reprimand because she doubted His resurrection and wanted to hold onto Him, to prevent His disappearance once more. In doubting His resurrection, Mary also doubted Christ’s divine power to rise from the dead. She doubted that He is the Lord of life Who is equal to the heavenly Father in might, greatness, and authority.

    Thus, in Mary’s eyes, Christ had not reached the level of the Father. Moreover, she wanted to prevent His disappearance from her sight so that she would no longer doubt in His resurrection. It was as though she wanted to prevent His ascension into heaven. If this was her state at the time, one
    wonders what she would have been like after His real ascension to sit on the right hand of the Father.

    Thus, the Lord Jesus commanded her plainly, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father…” (Jn 20:17). In saying this, He meant to tell His disciples: Your God (the Father) became Mine when I emptied Myself, was incarnated, and came in the image of a slave. My heavenly Father (that is, My Father by nature), will become your Father by adoption when I ascend into heaven, and send the Holy Spirit, to filial you from God through baptism. Through My descent I took what is yours, and through My ascension you shall receive what is Mine.

    Put simply Metropolitan Bishoy, is saying that St Mary was aiming to hold Jesus down so that he would not dissappear again from her sight!

    Whereas with thomas he did not have this intention of holding Jesus Down, he wanted proof of his resurrection, as is evident when he touches Christ and says “My Lord and My God”

    In Regards to what St Augustine wrote, i mentioned him in the article in the last paragraph!

    The two saints (Augustine & Severus) added that the Lord wished to say to her “Don’t hold on to Me with your precarious faith because I have not reached in your mind the standard of My Father’s divinity.”You think My body is still dead and the people can carry it wherever they wish!!” However, He consoled her and at the same time He charged her with a message to the apostles.

    God Bless

  3. fr matthew the poor writes…. “the doctrine of the Orthodox Church, in emphasizing the love of God as a basic motive, extends from the cross to the resurrection and ascension, and even to the entry into the holy of holies and sitting on the right hand of the father in order to ensure the consumation of redemtption. Therefore the Orthodox Church believes that redemption continued even after Christ’s entrance into the higher holies” ….THE COMMUNION OF LOVE Pg 150

    In the Old Testament, after a sacrifice is offered on the Alter the high priest was to enter the Holy of Holies. Nothing impure was to touch him, until the sacrifice was delivered in the Holy of Holies. If something impure touched him, he had to start the sacrifice all over again.
    The same way with Jesus, nothing impure was to touch Him before He delivered His blood sacrifice, sprinkled it on the mercy seat, before the Throne of God, to delivered us from the curse of the law.

    Puting these 2 together one might think Jesus did not present the sacrifice to His Father yet, that is why He did not let Mary touch him…

    However Pope Shenounda III clearly states “On the cross, He said “It is finished” which meant that the redemption was completed and the price of sin was paid.” This statement by the Pope does not contradict his explaination in the article however it seems from my perspective that it does directly opose Fr matthew’s explaination.

    i would just like to point that i do not disagree with the article on the blog or the Pope (just incase i get excummunicated for heresy) and infact completely agree with them, i am just stating points which i found when looking for explainations of church doctrine.

  4. With all due respect to Fr Matthew the Poor I have a few things where I believe his contemplation falters.

    1. This was not the 1st time that Jesus was touched as we find in

    Matthew 28:9 the following

    “And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.”

    So we see that Jesus was touched before he told St Mary, Do not cling to Me!
    Moreover the word “held” used in this verse indicates so much more of a physical attraction than the word “cling”.

    Let us assume his contemplation is correct –

    2. If it was the Decreed will of God that the risen Lord should not be touched by humans before His ascension, it would have been impossible for Mary to touch Him.

    3. It was not possible for Him to be defiled by a human touch. He would not have lost any virtue of holiness to enter the holy of holies by a human touch because He is the holy of holies Himself.

    4. Jesus was always entirely holy and he didn’t become holier after resurrection. His human body changed to a glorified human body after resurrection.

    5. If Jesus had not presented the sacrifice yet to the father, then how is it possible that the gates of heaven are opened at the cross where the Son tells the right hand thief that he will be with him in paradise that same day? Further the graves where opened and the saints from the Old Testament where also resurrected and taken to paradise. If the father hadn’t already accepted the sacrifice then it’s impossible for the gates of heaven to be open.

    God Bless

  5. how about this argument:
    “probably the reason for that (jesus telling mary to not cling to him) was that He knew she would imagine that He had risen and would live with them on earth just as Lazarus had done. The Lord wanted her to preach His resurrection and ascension into heaven He did not arise in order to establish an earthly kingdom.”
    …..THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST JOHN… By: Fr Tados Malaty .Pg 471

    what this is saying is that mary believed that Jesus was risen just as Lazarus was risen from the dead, to live among her constantly, and converse with her freely as he had done.

    this explaination doesnt seem to line up with that mary was being rebuked by Jesus for not having faith in his resurrection, which is the argument of the article.

    1. I have no idea where he draws these conclusions from – they seem very far fetched and out there!

      And again why didn’t Jesus tell them the 1st time the woman clasped his feet?


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