Originally published Saturday, 04 April 2015.
She turned and said to him in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).
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.' "
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"---and that he had said these things to her. (John 20:16-18)
Mary Magdalene was soaked with sadness as she approached the tomb. She had come to anoint Jesus' body with spices, but could not cease her weeping as she mourned the loss of her Lord and Teacher. Finding the stone rolled away and his grave empty, Mary knelt in the tomb anguished and assuming someone had taken Jesus' body. Imagine what overwhelming joy was hers when she saw and recognized the risen Savior as he called her name, "Mary."
Isn't it comforting when someone close to you calls you by name? When someone you love and, or respect calls you by name without asking something of you, it prompts a feeling of being known and valued. Mary must have felt such feelings a hundred times over.
However, as Mary undoubtedly embraces Jesus, the Lord asks her not to cling to Him, but go and tell His disciples that Jesus is returning to the Father. Oh...and she also tells them that He is alive!
There are multiple opinions by theologians and scholars as to what Jesus meant when He asked Mary to refrain from clinging to Himself. I encourage you to go and study those for yourself. However, what the text is not saying is that Jesus was a spirit at this point. He was fully risen with a new human body--his resurrected body--which bore the marks of his crucifixion. As accounted in Luke 24:
As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, "Peace, to you!" But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." ..."Have you anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.(Luke 24:36-39, 41-42)
Jesus had risen in the flesh and Mary Magdalene was the first of over 500 that he would appear to. Mary, overcome with joy and emotion, wanted to worship her Savior and Lord, her Teacher and friend. However, Jesus wanted her to spread the word to His disciples because the mission was just beginning, and the advancement of the Kingdom was at hand.
May this Easter find you accepting Jesus' words to the disciples and to Mary Magdalene: Peace be with you...go and tell.