Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ “- John 20:17
After Jesus was resurrected from the dead, He commanded Mary to not cling to Him, to not fasten or adhere herself to Him. Not because there wouldn’t be a time when she couldn’t do that, but because the time for clinging to Him was not yet. The reason He gave her was that He had “not yet ascended to My Father”.
I’ve heard many a sermon in my life surrounding the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus and every one of those sermons that I can recall clings to Jesus either at the cross or right after He was raised from the dead outside the tomb. But they don’t cling to Jesus where He commanded us to cling: in Christ who is in the Father after having ascended to Him. Clinging to Him there includes all other access points, including the cross and the empty tomb along the way to the ultimate destination.
Do NOT adhere to me—for I have not yet ascended to my Father!
The implication being that we CAN adhere to Him AFTER He ascends to the Father.
To ascend doesn’t appear to have meant a physical ascension at that point, because we see the disciples handling Him and perhaps clinging to Him before the mount of ascension event occurred. So during the time between His first appearance to Mary at the tomb and when He allowed His disciples to handle Him, Jesus ascended to the Father in some way spiritually, but likely not physically—not yet. He spent 40 days on earth first preaching the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus used this ascended kind of language even before the cross…
Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. – John 17:13
No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.- John 3:13
Another way to say this is: There is only one person who has already ascended into heaven, Me, the Son is Man, and I’m in heaven right now.
When Jesus revealed the Father plainly to His disciples, He left out of His explanation all the stuff He did to redeem us. As important as all of that is, Jesus focused on the reason He did everything and where He took us—our ultimate destination. Here are His words,
“I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.”- John 16:28
This is the purpose of the Gospel: to show us the Way to the Father. The Father is the destination, and we follow Jesus all the way there, where the power exists to do the greater works, where the glory exists that makes us ONE with the Father in Christ in the same way that Jesus is ONE with the Father (John 17:22,23).
“…he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”- John 14:12
Greater works… because I go to My Father.
That’s how we do them. The power for greater works comes from being restored to glory, to the Father, right now. Our minds are still being transformed from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18), but we are still fully restored now because we are properly positioned in Christ.
We don’t continue only clinging to the cross or clinging to Jesus standing outside the empty tomb. We cling to, fasten ourselves to, adhere to Jesus Christ where He is now: in the Father. The Father is the clinging place—where His glory makes us ONE.
That’s not to say that we don’t carry about the dying of the Lord Jesus which puts to death the old nature so that the new nature in Christ wakes up within us. It’s not to say we don’t rise with Jesus from the dead by the same glory of the Father that raised Him. And it’s not to say that our minds are not being transformed from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18) as we overcome one suffering after another (Romans 8:18).
But for this post I’m just bringing into focus the actual purpose of the Gospel which has not really been understood. That Jesus restored us to the Father in Himself. He restored us to glory where we learn to cling to Him and never let go again: where we have the ABILITY to cling to Him and never let go again. Because from the place of the Father is where Christ holds us. He clings to us, we cling to Him. He abides in us, we abide in Him. That’s the point of everything Jesus did and it’s vital that we know this and are intensely aware of it. Perfect peace is the strongest and most obvious indicator that we are in Christ.
Have a blessed day everyone! ❤️🙏🏼
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