Devotions

The Resurrection • Devotion #2: Do Not Cling

I like idioms. I often wonder about the exact meaning or history involved. Here are some common examples.

The elephant in the room

Barking dogs seldom bite

Break the ice

Crack the whip

Heads will roll

Set the bar

Cross the line

To the nines

Without further ado

Rabbit hole

Fight tooth and nail

Topsy-turvy

Sticky fingers

Wear their shoes

The last one is common. It means that before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. It mandates empathy. It appears that it comes from a poem by Mary T. Lathrap which was published in 1895. The original title of the poem was ”Judge Softly,” later titled ”Walk a Mile in His Moccasins” (Grammarist.com). Often we forget to think from the other person’s perspective. Their past culture, upbringing, experiences, perspective, and what they have to gain or lose might help us better understand their actions.                     

I enjoy trying to put myself in someone else’s “scandals” when I read Scripture. When Jesus met with Mary Magdalene after the resurrection, the scene must have been packed with emotions. Jesus had changed Mary’s life forever and now was gone. Not only had He died, but now she was at an empty tomb. John 20:11-13 describes the scene, “But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’” I do not know if we can fully comprehend the depth of uncertainty. The disciples had seemed to lose all purpose and perspective and were hiding. Mary and a few ladies went to make sure all the burial details were in order.

John 20:14-16 describes an amazing encounter, “Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned and said to him in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher).” She knew His voice. I think she knew His dialect and tone but also heard His compassion. He always cared and cares.

Jesus makes an interesting statement in verse 17, “Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’’” Jesus did not say, “Do not cling to me” because He was of the “spirit world” and could not be touched. Nor did it have anything to do with fulfilling the symbolism of the Day of Atonement and presenting the blood to the Father. He had presented that on the cross when He was made sin for us. I think it is much more basic. Jesus knew Mary felt she had lost Jesus once before (at His crucifixion) and it was natural for her to have that same fear again. She was not going anywhere. She wanted to be near Him, but He knew He was not leaving yet. He had already chosen to stay on earth for another forty days. His practical advice was for her to go and tell others.

In verse 18, we read about Mary’s obedience, “Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’ – and that he had said these things to her.”

I think believers focus too much on “clinging” to Jesus. We only focus on prayer and reading the Word. It might sound good to say that it is just about us and Jesus, but this is not scriptural. James 1:22 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” We need to go and tell others. We need to be active. Sometimes we are praying about things that Jesus has already told us to act upon. It is time to get up and take action. We have heard the calling and now it is time to heed it. When we do this, we will be blessed (James 1:25). “You can bet your bottom dollar on that” (in no way is the author condoning gambling in the use of this idiom).



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