Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, “I am returning to my Father…”

Jesus arose from the dead and appeared to Mary Magdalene. His request – Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father - seems contradictory in light of the subsequent event when Jesus actually invites Thomas to touch Him.

Did Jesus ascend to the Father immediately after His resurrection and then return to earth for forty days? If so, there were two ascensions!

Perhaps so, although we cannot be sure, but what was going on in the temple may hold some significance. It was the day of the offering of First Fruits.

The priest waved the offering to heaven, offering the first fruits to God. A thankful offering to God in anticipation of more harvest to come!

Did Jesus ascend to heaven after His meeting with Mary to present Himself as a wave offering to the Father? The First Fruit of the Resurrection, signifying many others to come in the future.

Certainly, the resurrected Jesus would welcome an immediate re-unification with His Father. No doubt, long hoped for!

On the other hand, perhaps Jesus says to Mary – Don’t hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father – meaning simply, I’m not going anywhere right now. You will have plenty of time to visit with me before I ascend.

This makes sense in light of the special assignment He was anxious for her to complete:

Go instead to my brothers and tell them, “I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."

Maybe, the Teacher was simply helping her get used to a new situation, where she would not see and touch Him as formerly. What do you think?


  1. John 16:16-28 is interesting to re-read as we think about this.

    I always thought Mary was holding Jesus the way we hold on to someone that we dearly love when they return. If we witnessed the the crucifixion of God's son and now see Him alive, we would want to hold on to Him and never let go!

    In John 16, Jesus indicated that he was going back to the Father. Has He already assended once by John 20:10? I don't know. However, I can imagine Jesus wanting Mary to quickly let his grieving and despondent disciples know that He lives!

    "Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy." John 16:22

  2. We know he eventually goes to the Father - to present himself as an offering: Heb 9:11-14, 24-28. Heb 10:11-12. But as to when that happened... I always figured it was in the 10 or so days between Jesus' ascention and the day of Pentecost, but who really knows.

    I do appreciate the discussion! The fact it was the day for offering first fruits is interesting - as well it made me wonder what the Jewish priests did when at this time the temple curtain was ripped in two! I wonder what their reaction to that event was!

    One thing I noticed was what Jesus calls his disciples. "Go instead to my brothers and tell them..."

    He has called them his disciples, his apostles, and his friends. Now they are his family - his brothers.

    I have a few very close friends I call brother - it is a title I reserve for those I am incredibly close to, those I dearly love. I don't think the term went un-noticed.