I Have Seen the Lord!
Jesus said, “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 and your Father, to my God and your God.'”
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.
(Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible Old Testament Lexical Aids).
“Faith is to believe what you do not yet see; the reward for this faith is to see what you believe.” -Augustine
Oh the love Mary had for her Lord! With all her might, she held on to Him with the fervent attempt of not ever letting Him go! She simply never again wanted Him out of her sight. The thrill of seeing her Master alive and standing before her created within her an immense excitement and an extravagant joy. I wonder do, I love the Lord like that? Do you?
No one had loved Him more or clung to Him more tenaciously than she, and she was richly rewarded for this by being the first to see Him. It is no wonder the Lord Jesus conferred upon her such high honor.
“Singular honor is reserved for solitary faith. Mary has the first personal manifestation of Christ after His resurrection. She is the first witness of this most important and illustrious fact, and the first messenger of it to His disciples.” (Cecil)
Jesus forbids Mary to dote on His bodily presence as before, leading her rather to a spiritual communion which she will enjoy with Him even after His ascension. What perhaps seems harsh to us is actually Christ lovingly pointing her to look higher. The best service she can now do for Him is to go and tell others. This was the very first work that our risen Savior proposed to John as well. Jesus calls Mary to an active duty to others–to arise and be useful. He calls every one of us to this high calling as well.
Mary becomes an apostle to the apostles in reward for her constancy in clinging to Christ. She was comforted by the sight of her Master and now she is sent with the good news to comfort others. When God comforts us it is often with the purpose of comforting others:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
(2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
-1 Chronicles 5:20
Take It to Heart
Jesus now refers to His disciples as brothers instead of friends. He wants them to know that the earth is not their home. He wants us to know this as well. We are born from heaven and bound for heaven. We are to keep earth under our feet and heaven in our eyes. We are to seek things above, not earthly things. Paul tells us:
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)