Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com/
John 20:15-18 (NIV)
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
When Mary finally realizes that Jesus is resurrected he makes a strange statement: “Do not hold on to me”. Why would he say that? When Jesus brought Lazarus back to life he was restoring Lazarus to his old life where he would have to die again. But now, Jesus has started something completely new. He was physically present, otherwise he wouldn’t need to tell her not to cling to him! But this is not a restoring of his old life. Mary wanted to go back to the way things were, but Jesus would not let her do that. Old does not mean bad. In this story old means something familiar that keeps us comfortable and in control. She wants to go back, but the only way to go from here is to follow Jesus into the new reality he is making. That is the question we have before us each day: will we trust that Jesus is making all things new and follow him into a new life that might be unfamiliar and uncomfortable, but filled with God’s presence?