A reflection at the empty tomb
“Do not hold onto me, for I have not yet returned to the Father”.
I have read Jesus saying this to his friend Mary by the empty tomb many times and it’s easy to keep reading John’s Gospel without considering it. I can often find myself wishing, “If only Jesus was here now”.
In this case, there was Jesus fully standing in front of Mary. You’d think the purpose of life would be settled for her at that point. She was with her Messiah!
But Jesus makes the point to her that she will only be able to really hold onto him after he has returned to the Father – not before. And he did then return to the Father, saying it was better for his followers such as Mary to receive the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of what is to come.
That is good news for Christians living on Planet Earth 2,000 years later. It means we don’t have to wish we were among the crowds when Jesus walked the Earth in 30AD or thereabouts.
We can ‘hold’ onto him now in a journey of relationship, daily walking hand-in-hand with the Holy Spirit and look forward to a future of being with God when Jesus returns in a wonderful way we cannot comprehend. We have substantial hope to hold onto!