Weekly Devotion – John 20:17

Published 1:36 pm Thursday, November 10, 2022

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By Mike Caton

John 20:17, “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.”’”

What kind of hold does Mary put onto Jesus? Is it a hug? There are so many things that can go through our minds at this point. Her friend was dead and is now alive. His body was missing and now it is found. She is heartbroken over these events, and here is someone she dearly loves, whom she thought she would never see again. We have all had hugs like that. When either we or someone else’s world was falling apart, when all we could do was hold onto someone, really anyone. When the tears flowed, whether from sorrow, confusion, or relief.

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Or maybe she fell down and worshiped Jesus, grasping him around the legs or ankles. People had various reactions when they were in the presence of God (or some other superior person); they would fall down prostrate, they would grasp their feet in a show of humility, or run and hide from fear. It was an outward expression of their humility and an acknowledgement of their unworthiness. We are not sure what went through Mary’s mind here. But Jesus told her to get up, he still had places to go. He was going to ascend to the Father. But why? I suppose the easiest answer is to prepare for his return.

But he gives Mary, and by extension all of us, a job to do. Go and find my brothers and tell them what is happening. And just like that, we get the first command from the risen Lord to go and tell the world about him. Sure, Mary first goes to the disciples with the news about Jesus. But can you imagine her keeping this news to herself around others? And today, we have the same good news to share. Jesus has risen from the dead: sin, Satan, and death are defeated. And though he has already ascended to his Father, one day he is coming back. That will be a day of reckoning, we will all have to face the judgment. So we need to be using this life to prepare for the next one.

Father, help me spread the word. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Mike Caton is the preacher at Mount Olive Church of Christ in Belhaven. He volunteers at the Ponzer Fire Department and works full time with Hyde County EMS. If you would like to receive daily devotions in your inbox, email mikecaton@centurylink.net.