corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.20.07.04
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 20:17

Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, `I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.' "

Adam Clarke Commentary

Touch me not - Μη μου ἁπτου, Cling not to me. Ἁπτομαι has this sense in Job 31:7, where the Septuagint use it for the Hebrew דבק dabak, which signifies to cleave, cling, stick, or be glued to. From Matthew 28:9, it appears that some of the women held him by the feet and worshipped him. This probably Mary did; and our Lord seems to have spoken to her to this effect: "Spend no longer time with me now: I am not going immediately to heaven - you will have several opportunities of seeing me again: but go and tell my disciples, that I am, by and by, to ascend to my Father and God, who is your Father and God also. Therefore, let them take courage."


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 20:17". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-20.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Touch me not … - This passage has given rise to a variety of interpretations. Jesus required Thomas to touch him John 20:27, and it has been difficult to ascertain why he forbade this now to Mary. The reason why he directed Thomas to do this was, that he doubted whether he had been restored to life. Mary did not doubt that. The reason why he forbade her to touch him now is to be sought in the circumstances of the case. Mary, filled with joy and gratitude, was about to prostrate herself at his feet, disposed to remain with him, and offer him there her homage as her risen Lord. This is probably included in the word touch in this place; and the language of Jesus may mean this: “Do not approach me now for this purpose. Do not delay here. Other opportunities will yet be afforded to see me. I have not yet ascended - that is, I am not about to ascend immediately, but shall remain yet on earth to afford opportunity to my disciples to enjoy my presence.” From Matthew 28:9, it appears that the women, when they met Jesus, held him by the feet and worshipped him. This species of adoration it was probably the intention of Mary to offer, and this, at that time, Jesus forbade, and directed her to go at once and give his disciples notice that he had risen.

My brethren - See John 15:15.

My Father and your Father … - Nothing was better fitted to afford them consolation than this assurance that this God was theirs; and that, though he had been slain, they were still indissolubly united in attachment to the same Father and God.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 20:17". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-20.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto the Father: but go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God. Mary Magdalene cometh and telleth the disciples, I have seen the Lord; and that he had said these things unto her.

Although forbidden to touch the Lord, Mary nevertheless was granted the far more wonderful privilege of telling the good news of his resurrection and of announcing to them the forthcoming ascension.

Touch me not ... is another "discrepancy" in the eyes of some, for Matthew recorded that "the women came and held him by the feet and worshipped him" (Matthew 28:9). But, like all "discrepancies," this one also disappears in the light of study. The occasion in Matthew was marked by the presence of several women (including Mary Magdalene); in this incident, only Mary seems to have been present. These are therefore two separate epiphanies; and the only thing that may be made of it is that Jesus permitted several women to do something which, in this first appearance to Mary, he had denied. Also, the KIND of touching in the two appearances was different. The worship of Jesus does not seem to have been the purpose of Mary in that first spontaneous greeting. There was no inherent refusal of Jesus to be touched by mortals after the resurrection, because he specifically invited Thomas to do so (John 20:27); and he invited all the apostles to "handle" him (Luke 24:39). There was, therefore, clearly some divine reason for Jesus' prohibition of Mary's intended touching of him in this appearance. But is such a thing a "discrepancy"? Emphatically, No! There is another case of this same type of discrimination a little later in John, where the Lord prophesied the martyrdom of Peter, but denied the specific request to prophesy the future of John (John 21:18-23). If those two events had been related in separate Gospels, the critics would have been baying yet about a "discrepancy" in the Lord's prophesying the future of one apostle and refusing to do so of another. The Lord's permission to touch him, denied in one instance and granted in another, cannot logically be viewed as a "discrepancy." Morgan's words seem to shed some further light on the question, thus:

He did not say, "Touch me not." It is unfortunate how that rendition misses the true meaning. The English Revised Version margin reads, "Take not hold of me."[6]

It should not be overlooked that to Mary came the unique honor of being first told of the ascension to the Father. She also conveyed the glorious message of his resurrection, not merely of an empty grave, but of the living Saviour!

My brethren ... These are significant words. Peter had denied him, and all had fled during the crucifixion; but the Lord unhesitatingly addressed them as his "brethren." They had then entered upon their new status, henceforth being Christ's brothers, joint heirs with Christ of eternal life and partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. Christ nowhere ever addressed all humanity as "brethren." As Hendriksen said of the saved, "These, these all, these alone, are Christ's brothers."[7]

[6] G. Campbell Morgan, op. cit., p. 314.

[7] William Hendriksen, Exposition of the Gospel according to John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1961), II, p. 456.


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 20:17". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-20.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Jesus saith unto her, touch me not,.... Not that his body was an aerial one, or a mere "phantom", which could not be touched; the prohibition itself shows the contrary; and besides, Christ's body was afterwards presented to Thomas, to be touched by him, and to be handled by all the disciples; and his feet were held by the women, which is what Mary would have now done: upon the discovery of him, she threw herself at his feet, and was going to embrace and kiss them, to testify her affection and joy, when she is forbid; not as unworthy of the favour, because she sought him among the dead, for which the angels reproved her and the rest; but either because he was not to be conversed with, as before his death, his body being raised immortal and glorious; or rather, because he had an errand to send her on to his disciples, which required haste; nor need she stay now to show her respect to him, since she would have opportunity enough to do that, before his ascension; which though it was to be quickly, yet not directly and immediately; and this seems to be the sense of our Lord's reason:

for I am not yet ascended to my Father; nor shall I immediately go to him; I shall make some stay upon earth; as he did, forty days before his ascension; when he intimates, she might see him again, and familiarly converse with him; at present he would have her stay no longer with him:

but go to my brethren; this he says, to show that their carriage to him, being denied by one of them, and forsaken by them all, and the glory he was raised unto, as all this made no alteration in their relation to him, so neither in his affection to them: Mary was a very proper person to be sent unto them, since she had lately been with them, and knew where they were all assembled together:

and say unto them; as from himself, representing him as it were:

I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God; God was his Father, not by creation, as he is to angels, and the souls of men, and therefore is called the Father of spirits; nor by adoption, as he is to the saints; nor with respect to the incarnation of Christ, for, as man, he had no father; or with regard to his office as Mediator, for as such he was a servant, and not a Son; but he was his Father by nature, or with regard to his divine person, being begotten of him, and so his own proper Son, and he his own proper Father; which hold forth the natural and eternal sonship of Christ, his equality with him, and distinction from him: and God was the Father of his disciples by adopting grace, in virtue of the covenant of grace made with Christ, and through their spiritual relation to him, as the natural and eternal Son of God: God the Father is the God of Christ as man, who prepared, formed, anointed, supported, and glorified his human nature; and in which nature, he prayed to him as his God, believed in him, loved and obeyed him as such; wherefore the JewF15R. Isaac Chizzuk Emuna, par. 2. c. 58. p. 446. very wrongly infers from hence, that he is not God, because the God of Israel was his God; since this is spoken of him as he is man: and he was the God of his disciples, in and by the covenant of grace made with Christ, as their head and representative; so that their interest in God, as their covenant God and Father, was founded upon his being the God and Father of Christ, and their relation to, and concern with him; and which therefore must be firm and lasting, and will hold as long as God is the God and Father of Christ: this was good news to be brought to his disciples; which, as it carried the strongest marks of affection, and expressions of nearness of relation; and implied, that he was now risen from the dead; so it signified, that he should ascend to God, who stood in the same relation to them, as to him; when he should use all his interest and influence on their behalf, whilst they were on earth; and when the proper time was come for a remove, that they might be with him, and with his God and Father and theirs, where they would be to all eternity.


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on John 20:17". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-20.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

4 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my d brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto e my Father, and your Father; and [to] my God, and your God.

(4) Christ, who is risen, is not to be sought in this world according to the flesh, but in heaven by faith where he has gone before us.

(d) By his brethren he means his disciples, for in the following verse it is said that Mary told his disciples.

(e) He calls God his Father because he is naturally his Father in the Godhead, and he says "your Father" because he is our Father by grace through the adoption of the sons of God: that is, by taking us by his free grace to be his sons; Epiphanius.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on John 20:17". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/john-20.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father — Old familiarities must now give place to new and more awful yet sweeter approaches; but for these the time has not come yet. This seems the spirit, at least, of these mysterious words, on which much difference of opinion has obtained, and not much that is satisfactory said.

but go to my brethren — (Compare Matthew 28:10; Hebrews 2:11, Hebrews 2:17). That He had still our Humanity, and therefore “is not ashamed to call us brethren,” is indeed grandly evidenced by these words. But it is worthy of most reverential notice, that we nowhere read of anyone who presumed to call Him Brother. “My brethren: Blessed Jesus, who are these? Were they not Thy followers? yea, Thy forsakers? How dost Thou raise these titles with Thyself! At first they were Thy servants; then disciples; a little before Thy death, they were Thy friends; now, after Thy resurrection, they were Thy brethren. But oh, mercy without measure! how wilt Thou, how canst Thou call them brethren whom, in Thy last parting, Thou foundest fugitives? Did they not run from Thee? Did not one of them rather leave his inmost coat behind him than not be quit of Thee? And yet Thou sayest, ‹Go, tell My brethren! It is not in the power of the sins of our infirmity to unbrother us‘” [Bishop Hall].

I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God — words of incomparable glory! Jesus had called God habitually His Father, and on one occasion, in His darkest moment, His God. But both are here united, expressing that full-orbed relationship which embraces in its vast sweep at once Himself and His redeemed. Yet, note well, He says not, Our Father and our God. All the deepest of the Church fathers were wont to call attention to this, as expressly designed to distinguish between what God is to Him and to us - His Father essentially, ours not so: our God essentially, His not so: His God only in connection with us: our God only in connection with Him.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 20:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/john-20.html. 1871-8.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

17. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

[Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended, &c.] These words relate to what he had spoken formerly about sending the Comforter, and that he would not leave them comfortless, &c. And this probably Mary Magdalene's mind was intent upon when she fell at his feet and would have embraced them. But he, "I must first ascend to my Father before I can bestow those things upon you which I have promised: do not therefore touch me and detain me upon any expectation of that kind; but wait for my ascension rather; and go and tell the same things to my brethren for their encouragement."


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on John 20:17". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/john-20.html. 1675.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Touch me not (μη μου απτουmē mou haptou). Present middle imperative in prohibition with genitive case, meaning “cease clinging to me” rather than “Do not touch me.” Jesus allowed the women to take hold of his feet (εκρατησανekratēsan) and worship (προσεκυνησανprosekunēsan) as we read in Matthew 28:9. The prohibition here reminds Mary that the previous personal fellowship by sight, sound, and touch no longer exists and that the final state of glory was not yet begun. Jesus checks Mary‘s impulsive eagerness.

For I am not yet ascended (ουπω γαρ αναβεβηκαoupō gar anabebēka). Perfect active indicative. Jesus is here at all only because he has not yet gone home. He had said (John 16:7) that it was good for them that he should go to the Father when the Holy Spirit will come through whom they will have fellowship with the Father and Christ.

My God
(τεου μουtheou mou). Jesus had said “My God” on the Cross (Mark 15:34). Note it also in Revelation 3:2. So Paul in Romans 15:6, etc., has “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 20:17". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-20.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Touch me not ( μή μοῦ ἅπτου )

The verb, primarily, means to fasten to. Hence it implies here, not a mere momentary touch, but a clinging to. Mary thought that the old relations between her Lord and herself were to be renewed; that the old intercourse, by means of sight, sound, and touch, would go on as before. Christ says, “the time for this kind of intercourse is over. Henceforth your communion with me will be by faith through the Spirit. This communion will become possible through my ascending to the Father.”

My Father

The best texts omit the pronoun and read the Father. See on John 12:26. This expression, emphasizing the relation of God to humanity rather than to Christ himself, is explained by what follows - “my Father and your Father.”

My brethren

The word brethren, applied to the disciples, occurs before (John 7:3, John 7:5, John 7:10), but not the phrase my brethren, which follows from my Father and your Father. Compare Matthew 28:10.

I ascend ( ἀναβαίνω )

The present tense is used, not in the sense of the near future, but implying that He had already entered upon that new stage of being which the actual ascension formally inaugurated. The resurrection was really the beginning of the ascension.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 20:17". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/john-20.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

Touch me not — Or rather, Do not cling to me (for she held him by the feet,) Matthew 28:9. Detain me not now. You will have other opportunities of conversing with me. For I am not ascended to my Father - I have not yet left the world. But go immediately to my brethren - Thus does he intimate in the strongest manner the forgiveness of their fault, even without ever mentioning it. These exquisite touches, which every where abound in the evangelical writings, show how perfectly Christ knew our frame.

I ascend — He anticipates it in his thoughts, and so speaks of it as a thing already present. To my Father and your Father, to my God and your God - This uncommon expression shows that the only - begotten Son has all kind of fellowship with God. And a fellowship with God the Father, some way resembling his own, he bestows upon his brethren. Yet he does not say, Our God: for no creature can be raised to an equality with him: but my God and your God: intimating that the Father is his in a singular and incommunicable manner; and ours through him, in such a kind as a creature is capable of.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 20:17". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/john-20.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

17.Touch me not. This appears not to agree with the narrative of Matthew; for he expressly says, that the women held him By The Feet,and worshipped him, (Matthew 28:9.) Now, since he allowed himself to be touched by his disciples, what reason was there for forbidding Mary to touch him? The answer is easy, provided that we remember that the women were not repelled from touching Christ, till their eagerness to touch him had been carried to excess; for, so far as it was necessary for removing doubt, he unquestionably did not forbid them to touch him, but, perceiving that their attention was too much occupied with embracing his feet, he restrained and corrected that immoderate zeal. They fixed their attention on his bodily presence, and did not understand any other way of enjoying his society than by conversing with him on the earth. We ought, therefore, to conclude, that they were not forbidden to touch him, until Christ saw that, by their foolish and unreasonable desire, they wished to keep him in the world.

For I am not yet ascended to my Father. We ought to attend to this reason which he adds; for by these words he enjoins the women to restrain their feelings, until he be received into the heavenly glory. In short, he pointed out the design of his resurrection; not such as they had imagined it to be, that, after having returned to life, he should triumph in the world, but rather that, by his ascension to heaven, he should enter into the possession of the kingdom which had been promised to him, and, seated at the right hand of the Father, should govern the Church by the power of his Spirit. The meaning of the words therefore is, that his state of resurrection would not be full and complete, until he should sit down in heaven at the right hand of the Father; and, therefore, that the women did wrong in satisfying themselves with having nothing more than the half of his resurrection, and desiring to enjoy his presence in the world. This doctrine yields two advantages. The first is, that those who are desirous to succeed in seeking Christ must raise their minds upwards; and the second is, that all who endeavor to go to him must rid themselves of the earthly affections of the flesh, as Paul exhorts,

If ye then be risen with Christ seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God,
(
Colossians 3:1.)

But go to my brethren. Some limit the word brethren to the cousins and relatives (199) of Christ, but, in my opinion, improperly; for why should he have sent to them rather than to the disciples? They reply, Because John elsewhere testifies, that His Brethren did not believe in him. (John 7:5.)

But I do not think it probable that Christ conferred so great an honor on those who are there mentioned. It must also be admitted, that Mary Magdalene (200) fully obeyed the injunctions of Christ. Now, it immediately follows, that she went to the disciples; from which we conclude, that Christ had spoken of them. (201)

Besides, Christ knew that the disciples, whom those men, by their opinion, treat as separated, were assembled in one place; and it would have been exceedingly absurd that he should pay attention to I know not what sort of persons, and disregard the disciples, who, having been collected into one place, were subjected to a violent conflict between hope and fear. To this it may be added, that Christ appears to have borrowed this expression from Psalms 22:22, where we and these words: I will declare thy name to my brethren; for it is beyond all controversy, that this passage contains the fulfillment of that prediction.

I conclude, therefore, that Mary was sent to the disciples in general; and I consider that this was done by way of reproach, because they had been so tardy and sluggish to believe. And, indeed, they deserve not only to have women for their teachers, but even oxen and asses; since the Son of God had been so long and laboriously employed in teaching, and yet they had made so little, or hardly any progress. Yet this is a mild and gentle chastisement, when Christ thus sends his disciples to the school of the women, that by their agency, he may bring them back to himself. Here we behold also the inconceivable kindness of Christ, in choosing and appointing women to be the witnesses of his resurrection to the Apostles; for the commission which is given to them is the only foundation of our salvation, and contains the chief point of heavenly wisdom.

It ought likewise to be observed, however, that this occurrence was extraordinary, and — we might almost say — accidental. They are commanded to make known to the Apostles what they afterwards, in the exercise of the office committed to them, proclaimed to the whole world. But, in executing this injunction, they do not act as if they had been Apostles; and, therefore, it is wrong to frame a law out of this injunction of Christ, and to allow women to perform the office of baptizing. Let us be satisfied with knowing that Christ displayed in them the boundless treasures of his grace, when he once appointed them to be the teachers of the Apostles, and yet did not intend that what was done by a singular privilege should be viewed as an example. This is peculiarly apparent in Mary Magdalene, who had formerly been possessed by seven devils, (Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2;) for it amounted to this, that Christ had brought her out of the lowest hell, that he might raise her above heaven.

If it be objected, that there was no reason why Christ should prefer the women to the Apostles, since they were not less carnal and stupid, I reply, it does not belong to us, but to the Judge, to estimate the difference between the Apostles and the women. But I go farther, and say, that the Apostles deserved to be more severely censured, because they not only had been better instructed than all others, but, after having been appointed to be the teachers of the whole world, and after having been called the light of the world, (Matthew 5:14,) and the salt of the earth, (Matthew 5:13,) they so basely apostatized. Yet it pleased the Lord, by means of those weak and contemptible vessels, to give a display of his power.

I ascend to my Father. By using the word ascend he confirms the doctrine which I have lately explained; that he rose from the dead, not for the purpose of remaining any longer on the earth, but that he might enter into the heavenly life, and might thus draw believers to heaven along with him. In short, by this term he forbids the Apostles to fix their whole attention on his resurrection viewed simply in itself, but exhorts them to proceed farther, until they come to the spiritual kingdom, to the heavenly glory, to God himself. There is great emphasis, therefore, in this word ascend; for Christ stretches out his hand to his disciples that they may not seek their happiness anywhere else than in heaven;

for where our treasure is, there also must our heart be,
(
Matthew 6:21.)

Now, Christ declares, that he ascends on high; and, therefore, we must ascend, if we do not wish to be separated from him.

When he adds, that he ascends To God, he quickly dispels the grief and anxiety which the Apostles might feel on account of his departure; for his meaning is, that he will always be present with his disciples by Divine power. True, the word ascend denotes the distance of places; but though Christ be absent in body, yet, as he is with God, his power, which is everywhere felt, plainly shows his spiritual presence; for why did he ascend to God, but in order that, being seated at God’s right hand, (202) he might reign both in heaven and in earth? In short, by this expression he intended to impress on the minds of his disciples the Divine power of his kingdom, that they might not be grieved on account of his bodily absence.

To my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God. The benefit and efficacy of that brotherly union, which has been lately mentioned, is expressed, when Christ declares that we have this in common with himself, that he who is his God and his Father is also our God and our Father. I ascend, says he, to my Father, who is also your Father. In other passages we learn that we are made partakers of all the blessings of Christ; but this is the foundation of the privilege, that he imparts to us the very fountain of blessings. It is, unquestionably, an invaluable blessing, that believers can safely and firmly believe, that He who is the God of Christ is their God, and that He who is the Father of Christ is their Father. Nor have we any reason to fear that this confidence will be charged with rashness, since it is founded on Christ, or that it will be proud boasting, since Christ himself has dictated it to us with his own mouth.

Christ calls Him his God, in so far as, by

taking upon him the form of a servant, he humbled himself,
(
Philippians 2:7.)

This is, therefore, peculiar to his human nature, but is applied to his whole person, on account of the unity, because he is both God and Man. As to the second clause, in which he says that he ascends to his Father and our Father, (203) there is also a diversity between him and us; for he is the Son of God by nature, while we are the sons of God only by adoption; but the grace which we obtain through him is so firmly established, that it cannot be shaken by any efforts of the devil, so as to hinder us from always calling him our Father, who hath adopted us through his Only-begotten Son.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 20:17". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-20.html. 1840-57.

Scofield's Reference Notes

Touch me not

Cf. Matthew 28:9, "and they came and held him by the feet." A contradiction has been supposed. Three views are held:

(1) That Jesus speaks to Mary as the High Priest fulfilling the day of atonement (Leviticus 16). Having accomplished the sacrifice, He was on His way to present the sacred blood in heaven, and that, between the meeting with Mary in the garden and the meeting of Matthew 28:9. He had so ascended and returned: a view in harmony with types.

(2) That Mary Magdalene, knowing as yet only Christ after the flesh 2 Corinthians 5:15-17 and having found her Beloved, sought only to hold Him so; while He, about to assume a new relation to His disciples in ascension, gently teaches Mary that now she must not seek to hold Him to the earth, but rather become His messenger of the new joy.

(3) That He merely meant: "Do not detain me now; I am not yet ascended; you will see me again; run rather to my brethren," etc.

Touch me not Or, do not detain me.


Copyright Statement
These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.

Bibliography
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on John 20:17". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/john-20.html. 1917.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

‘TOUCH ME NOT’

Jesus saith unto her, Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father.

John 20:17

This is the second word spoken by our Lord after His Resurrection; and it was spoken to the simple womanly penitent. His first word touched her heart, His second informed her spirit.

I. The action of the Magdalen.—The action of the Magdalen in stretching out her hand to touch our Lord proved that she never supposed that He would be further removed from her than He was in His natural body. There was the Christian woman’s faithful, loving, pious act. Is it your first impulse to get the precious possession of your risen Lord? While you know more distinctly than ever Mary knew that Christ your Lord was dead and is alive, do you honestly think that you find it in your heart to long to touch Him? Do you care as she did to be near Him? True, He may be fixed in your creed, but that dogma may be only a dry abstraction, not a living person, perfect Man and perfect God, as He was to her?

II. The rebuke.—Let us go a step further. The word was instant—‘Touch Me not.’ Now, do you think that by that word He meant in any way that He was separate from her? Was it a warning, do you think, to His redeemed, that He was no more to be approached as near, that He was retiring into the nature which He had from all eternity, pure Godhead, and had left behind Him in the grave His manhood, emptied Himself of His human fellowship and kinship with us? Not at all. When He bade Mary touch Him not, He only negatived her impulsive love, and corrected it by a higher knowledge of a more perfect blessing which should after a brief interval of patience be hers. He needed that body as an instrument for our atonement and sacrifice in death upon the Cross; He needs that body now to be an instrument of uniting man with God. Mary should touch Him, Mary should receive, embrace, possess Him, but not in the only way in which she had kissed His feet and washed them with her tears and wiped them with the natural drapery of her hair, but she should touch Him and possess Him in a better way. So, to turn again to ourselves, it is better far to be all impulsive and eager in our desire to touch our Lord with loving haste than to be cold and indifferent whether we touch Him one way or the other. We cannot all be theologians, but we can all be seekers after Christ and lovers of Christ, and He, the Divine Master, Who wills that our knowledge be perfected, will meanwhile, till that perfection come, never break the bruised reed nor quench the smoking flax. He will accept our devotion, be we women or men, even if it be for a time uneducated; He will justify that devotion by the plea that He used Himself, ‘She hath done what she could.’

III. ‘Not yet ascended.’—It is clear from these words that the union of any individual man with Christ is the result of the Ascension. The period of forty days between the Resurrection and the Ascension was a transitional state, not intended to last, an intermediate condition of life, an interval that is too subtle to be defined. The natural body of Christ—that is, the body that was so liable to suffering and death—was extinct when He said these words. It had no place, and has no place on earth, or in hades, or in heaven. The natural body was and is extinct. The glorified body was not perfect when He spoke with Mary. He waited till the Ascension for the endowment of power, sent forth by the Holy Spirit, charged with all the virtues of His manhood, the life, sacrifice, and atoning death of the Redeemer. And this authority given to the ascended and glorified Lord to send forth the Holy Ghost seemed to have been ordered in the eternal counsels of God to be the Son’s reward, to be the glory to ensue after Christ had perfectly fulfilled His mission. It is the Holy Ghost Who is entrusted with the inward spiritual power of uniting man, in whom He indwells, with Christ. He conveys to the whole man, body, soul, and spirit, every gift and grace which Jesus has authority to give.

So this is the sum of Christ’s teaching on the effect of His Resurrection upon us. Christ died for all the world, but the fruits of that death and the vital power of His Resurrection are to be communicated singly to every one of us by a personal union, to every one of us who will accept Him. And this union with Christ is effected by the Holy Ghost.

—Archdeacon Furse.

Illustration

‘It is right we should show forth the beauty of worship, that we should give to God the best we have, that our singing, our adornment should be of the costliest and best; but we must beware lest we mistake the two things, lest we permit a fondness for music, a love of art, a devotion to culture to take the place of the true spiritual communion with our Lord—a caution lest we lose, as it were, in a beautiful many-tinted wreath, the close communion with our risen Lord, lest our natural likings should draw down the actings of our enfranchised spirits.’

(SECOND OUTLINE)

REVERENCE FOR THE SUPERNATURAL

Once again Mary hears His voice calling her by name, and sees Him at her side, and she reaches forth her hand with the cry, ‘Rabboni! Master!’ But she is met by words which sound hard and strange, and almost like a reproof: ‘Touch Me not.’

I. What did our Blessed Lord mean?—Three main interpretations have been given, coming respectively from St. Chrysostom, St. Gregory, and St. Augustine; either, or all, of which may be true.

(a) The words were spoken to check any mistaken view of the Risen Saviour.

(b) The words indicated that she was to lose not a moment in executing an unique and glorious errand.

(c) The words were spoken to lift her from earthly things and ideas to something higher and more real.

II. Does He repel our advances?—No! He is stirring impulse into resolution. ‘God is very greatly to be feared in the council of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are round about Him.’ He is not the Lord and Master, as He was before—‘Rabboni’ must give place to ‘Jesus, my God.’ Easter-time is just one of those festivals when we are brought face to face with the supernatural. It is the limit of the world of sense, from which we stand and look over the interminable vista of the supernatural—the resurrection of the body, life from the dead, victory over the grave. Sometimes we may think we could match Christ’s self-denial; that we could rival His teaching in some system of morality; that we could equal His philanthropy; that we could surpass His Plan. But on Easter Day He stands back from us. None of our greatest heroes or philanthropists have been crucified, and risen again on the third day; no human spell can give life to a dead body, no imagination picture more than the immortality of the soul.

III. On Easter Day Christ is clothed with a supernatural light.—His words, ‘Touch Me not,’ claim a new homage beyond His other words of power: ‘Be still, then, and know that I am God.’ A gathering spirit of reverence should stretch out from the Easter Festival and flood our religious life with light. This should be so with—

(a) The Holy Word of God.

(b) The Holy Mysteries.

(c) The Church, Her Creeds and Teaching.

The Faith is not of men, it comes from God Himself. Thus, on this Festival, Reverence before the Supernatural stands out the one great lesson for us to lay to heart.

—Rev. Canon Newbolt.

Illustration

‘Whatever it was that Mary did—whatever that action was meant to express and to convey—that may we now do and express, seeing that His own appointed time for it is already come; and that He has “ascended to the Father.” For, remember, that to Christ’s own feeling the circumstance of the invisibility of His Presence would make no difference. I often think that it may be so with the spirits of the departed. To them, death may make no separation at all. To us, indeed—even if we believe that they are still about us—still the fact that we cannot see them, must make a great change. But, to them, if they are still about our path, and about our bed, there will be no change, in this respect, at all,—not a shadow of separation in any sense. Certainly, our Lord feels just as much present with His people now as when His bodily eye saw them, and His natural voice spoke to them. Therefore to Him it is just the same, now, as if anybody really “touched” Him. But to us, it is an exercise of faith to realise that. But to Him there is no alteration at all, since He was upon the earth.’


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on John 20:17". Church Pulpit Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/john-20.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

Ver. 17. Touch me not, &c.] She had caught him by the feet (as the Shunammite did Elisha, as the Shulamite did her spouse), and there she would have held him longer, out of inconsiderate zeal, Matthew 28:9; Song of Solomon 3:4; but that he takes her off this corporal conceit, that she may learn to live by faith, and not by sense; to be drawn after him to heaven, whither he was now ascending, and to go tell his brethren what she had seen and heard, Ne morere, sed ad perturbatos discipulos accurre et quod vidisti renuncia. (Pet. Martyr.)


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 20:17". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-20.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

John 20:17

Ascension the Condition of the Spiritual Contact

I. The brief saying of the text is pregnant with the deepest doctrine. It teaches us how poor a thing is bodily presence, even if it were the presence of the Saviour. It teaches us how they err from wisdom as well as from reason, who would reproduce upon earth in holy sacraments, the corporeal presence of the risen. How little can they have entered into the first principle of the Gospel, "God is Spirit," or into the first axiom of Christianity, which is,—The lowest spiritual ranks in the nature of things above the highest carnal. The true contact with Christ presupposes His ascension; it is only by ascending far above all heavens that He can really fill all things. "Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended."

II. The risen Saviour tells this sorrowful yet suddenly comforted disciple that she must not cling to Him. In itself, that sounds cheerless and unsympathetic. Then we begin to say it is quite true, as the Romanist seems to tell us, that Jesus Christ Himself, though we call Him our Saviour, is too holy, too Divine, to be approached without some sort of mediation. Let us find some intermediate—saint, angel, or virgin—whom we may approach and cling to, since He Himself has spoken the Noli me tangere. And yet the voice was very sweet and very tender which forbad the touching. Surely it promised the very access which it prohibited—promised in the name of the Ascended that which it postponed in the person of the Risen. Yes, that which we could not do, with any amount of permission—namely, the touching of the visible Saviour—that which is no loss therefore to us, whatever it may have seemed to be to her—is here opened to us, living after the ascension, as the very privilege and possession of our discipleship. "Touch Me not, for I am not yet ascended;" but now He is ascended, and He may be touched, clung to, and dwelt with.

C. J. Vaughan, Temple Sermons, p. 416.


The Resurrection Change.

These words imply—

I. A change in our Blessed Lord Himself. While the teaching of the New Testament establishes a real organic connection between that which died and that which rises again, it intimates also a mighty change. When Mary saw the Lord she felt that death had been conquered; she knew not the change which death had made. And, therefore, His forbiddal of her loving touch. She puts out her hand to lay hold of Him, as of old; and lo! He draws Himself back in the mystery of His resurrection life, as though to break to her the solemn truth, that in Him the mortal had put on immortality, and might not bear contact with the dying. "Touch Me not." It is the measure of the change which shall pass upon all, in dying and rising from the dead.

II. Again, the words of Christ indicate not only a change in Himself, but in His relations with His followers. It is worthy of notice here that, though our Blessed Lord permitted not the touch of Mary Magdalen, yet a few days later he invited the touch of St. Thomas. The cause of this various action is not far to seek. Mary did not doubt the reality of the Being who stood beside her. She required to be drawn on from a too material love to a love more spiritual in its nature. St. Thomas required to be convinced that what he saw was no illusion of the senses. The fault of the one ended where the fault of the other began. And yet, while Jesus Christ thus withdraws from the touch of Mary, He intimates the approach of a time of renewed close communion with Him. If He forbids her touch because He was not yet ascended, He thereby manifestly implies that, when He had ascended, then she should touch Him without rebuke. What is this? It is the opening out the vital doctrine of the real spiritual contact which exists between the servants of Christ, and Christ upon His throne. The Redeemer here seems to intimate that, when once He had ascended to the Father, there should recommence a close intercommunion between Himself and His disciples. He draws the woman from a lower to a higher love—from a carnal to a spiritual touch; He bids her not stretch forth her hand, but lift up her heart; not seek to detain Him on earth, but to rise herself towards heaven.

Bishop Woodford, Sermons on Subjects from the New Testament, p. 54.


The Magdalen's Touch

Consider the warrant which the text gives us that Christ is ascended for real communion; what the measure of that communion is.

We must remember that to Christ's own feeling, the circumstance of the invisibility of His presence would make no difference. Our Lord feels just as much present with His people now, as when His bodily eyes saw them and His natural voice spoke to them. Therefore to Him it is just the same now, as if anybody really touched Him. To us, it is an exercise of faith to realise that. But to Him there is no alteration at all, since He was upon the earth. Now the act of Mary, of touching Jesus, whatever that touch was, must have been expressive, first, of the faith she had, that her own Lord and Saviour was again at her side; for, as she saw Him, she said simply, that one most beautiful of words, "Master." Thomas, too, when he touched, felt much the same. And our Saviour's repulse to Mary speaks only and exactly the same language as does the attitude of Thomas. Both exalt the spiritual power above the natural touch. The soul's embrace of the unseen in both is made greater than all bodily evidence. "Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed." It was the action, too, of adoring love. Our Saviour's words strikingly united those two feelings, as meeting in that higher touch, to which He directly led her now. "Touch Me," he virtually said, "Touch Me in your heart, when I am ascended." As the things of this outer world come and go, as they will, and all change and all die, we find that the things we touch, and cannot see, are far more real and far better than all that ever the natural senses know.

J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 2nd series, p. 130.


I. There are three arguments for the ascension of Christ—the external argument, the internal, and the personal. (1) The apostles declare that they saw the Lord ascend into heaven. Could they have united together and propagated a story which they did not credit? (2) The standing proof of the ascension of Christ to heaven is to be found in the mission and work of the Holy Spirit. (3) The personal argument for the ascension of Christ arises from the experience of His believing disciples.

II. The consequences of Christ's ascension are—(1) The completion of His work of atonement; (2) The stability of His Church, together with the supply of all that is needful to the perfecting of it through the work of the Holy Spirit; (3) The ascension furnishes to the faith and hope of individual believers a sure resting-place.

III. Encouragements which the ascension of Christ affords to believers. (1) It fortifies them against the assaults of their spiritual enemies. (2) It warrants them to count with the fullest confidence upon experiencing heavenly sympathy.

A. D. Davidson, Lectures and Sermons, p. 518.


References: John 20:17.—R. Rothe, Preacher's Lantern, vol. i., p. 615; J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 2nd series, p. 130.; vol. ii., p. 36; Contemporary Pulpit, vol. x., p. 79; Preacher's Monthly, vol. i., p. 306; vol. iii., p. 227; vol. v., p. 172; S. Cox, Expositions, 2nd series, p. 45; Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes: Gospels and Acts, p. 166; M. Dix, Sermons, Doctrinal and Practical, p. 133; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. i., p. 85; vol. xviii., p. 222. John 20:18-27.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. viii., p. 367.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on John 20:17". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/john-20.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

John 20:17. Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended, &c.— The objectors to the resurrection of Jesus, have inferred fromthis circumstance, that Christ's body was not a real tangible body: but this could never be inferred from the words Touch me not; for thousands make use of that expression every day, without giving the least suspicion that their bodies are not tangible, or capable of being touched: nor could this conclusion be built upon the words, I am not yet ascended to my Father; for though there is a difficulty in those words, there is no difficulty in seeing that they have no relation to Christ's body; for as to his body nothing is said. The natural sense of the place, as collected from comparing it with Matthew 28:9 is this, "Mary Magdalene, upon seeing Jesus, fell at his feet, and laid hold on them, and held them as if she meant never to let them go. See 2 Kings 4:27. Luke 7:38. Christ said to her, Touch me not, or embrace me not now, you will have other opportunities of seeing me, for I go not yet to my Father; lose no time then, but go quickly with my message to my brethren." In the Jewish language, to touch, often signifies to embrace, with affection and regard. Thus Mark 10:13. They brought young children, that he should touch them; that is, express his affection to them by the imposition of hands, accompanied with blessings; accordingly it is added, He took them up in his arms, laid his hands upon them, and blessed them. So also, Luke 7:39. Simon the Pharisee observing a woman, who was a sinner, washing the feet of Christ with her tears, and kissing them, expressed her action by the word απτεσθαι . This man, if he were a prophet, would, &c. who touched him. In this sense the word απτου, touch, was used by our Lord on the present occasion.—In the words of this verse is contained a most clear proof that it wasChrist himself who uttered them. To understand this, it must be remembered, that they allude to the long discourse which our Saviour held with his disciples, the very night in which he was betrayed, Ch. 14: John 15:16 : wherein he told them, that he should leave them for a short time. A little while, and ye shall not see me; and that he should come to them again, though but for a short time, And again a little while, and ye shall see me, because, added he, I go to my Father. By the phrase, I go to my Father, Christ meant his final quitting this world; as he himself explained it to his disciples, who did not then understand either of the above expressions, I came forth, &c. Ch. John 16:28. But, lest they should fall into despair at being thus forsaken by him, for whom they had forsaken all the world, he at the same time promised to send them a comforter, even the Holy Spirit, who should teach them all things, and enable them to work miracles; and that finally, though they should for a season be sorrowful, yet their sorrow should soon be turned into joy, &c. Ch. John 14:16; John 14:26; John 16:13; John 16:20-21. These were magnificent promises, which, as the disciples could not but remember Christ had made to them, so they might be assured, that no one but Christ was able to make them good; and therefore, when they came to reflect seriously on the import of these words, Touch me not, &c. it was impossible for them to conclude otherwise than that it was Christ himself who appeared to Mary Magdalene. For as the latter expression, I ascend to my Father, &c. implied a remembrance, and consequently a renewal of those promises which were to take place after the ascension to the Father, so did the former, I am not ascended to my Father, give them encouragement to expect the performance of that other promise of his coming to themagain before his ascension, by his giving them to understand that he had not yet quitted this world. And Christ's forbidding Mary Magdalene to touch or embrace him, might have been meant as a signification of his intending to see her and his disciples again, just as in ordinary life, when one friend says to another, "Don't take leave, for I am not going yet," he means to let him know, that he purposes to see him again before he sets out upon his journey. That this is the true import of the words, Touch me not, is evident, not only from the reason subjoined in the words immediately following, For I am not yet ascended, &c. (by which expression, as we have shewn above, Christ meant he had not finally quitted the world) but from these farther considerations:

Christ, by shewing himself first to Mary Magdalene, intended, doubtless, to give her a distinguishing mark of his favour, and therefore cannot be supposed to have designed at the same time to have put a slight upon her, by refusing her an honour which he granted not long after to the other Mary and Salome: and yet this must be supposed, if touch me not be understood to imply a prohibition to Mary Magdalene to embrace him, for any reason consistent with the regard shewn to the other women, and different from that now contended for, namely, that he intended to see her again and his disciples. On the contrary, if these words be taken to signify only that this honour was denied to Mary till some fitter opportunity, they will be so far from importing any unkindness or reprehension to her, that they may be rather looked upon as a gracious assurance, a kind of friendly engagement to come to her again. In this sense they correspond exactly with Christ's purpose in sending this message by her to his disciples; which, as we observed before, was to let them know that he remembered his promise of coming to them again, and was determined to perform it, not having finally quitted this world: and of his intention to perform it, this, his refusing to admit the affectionate or reverential embraces of Mary Magdalene, was an earnest; as his coming to them would be a pledge of his resolution to acquit himself in due time of those promises, which were not to take effect till after his final departure out of the world. And thus this whole discourse of our Saviour with Mary Magdalene will be, in all its parts, intelligible, rational, andcoherent; whereas, if it be supposed that Mary Magdalene was forbidden to touch Christ for some mystical reason, contained in the words, I am not yet ascended, &c. it will be very difficult to understand the meaning or intent of that message, which she was commanded to carry to the disciples; and still more difficult to account for his suffering, not long after, the embraces of the other Mary and Salome.

To the same, or even greater difficulties, will that interpretation of this passage be liable, which supposes that the prohibition to Mary Magdalene was grounded upon the spiritual nature of Christ's body, which, it is presumed, was not sensible to the touch or feeling. And indeed both these reasons for the behaviour of Christ to Mary Magdalene are overturned by his contrary behaviour to the other Mary and Salome. But besides the assurance given by Christ to his disciples, in the words here spoken, of his intention of performing his promises, &c. he might have a farther view, which is equally deducible from those words. That remarkable expression, I ascend to my Father, Christ undoubtedly made use of upon this occasion, to re-cal to their minds the discourse that he held with them three nights before, in which he explained clearly what he meant by going to his Father, Ch. John 16:29. But this was not the only expression that puzzled them; they were as much in the dark as to the meaning of, A little while, and ye shall not, &c. John 20:16-18 which they likewise confessed they did not understand. But Christ left those words to be explained by the events to which they severally related, and which were then drawing on a-pace. For that very night he was betrayed, and seized, and deserted by his disciples, as he himself had foretold: the next day he was crucified, expired upon the cross, and was buried. Upon this melancholy catastrophe, the disciples could be no longer at a loss to understand what Christ meant, when he said to them, A little while, and ye shall not see me: he was gone from them, and, as their fears suggested, gone for ever, notwithstanding he had expressly told them he would come to them again, in the words, Again, a little while, and ye shall see me.This latter expression was fullas intelligible as the former; and as the one now expounded by the event, was plainly a prophesy of his death, so must the other be understood as a prophesy of his resurrection. But if they understood it in that sense, they were very far from having a right notion of the resurrection from the dead; as is evident from their imagining when Christ first shewed himself to them after his passion, that they saw a spirit; even though they had just before declared their belief that he was risen indeed. The resurrection of the body, it should seem, made no part of their notion of the resurrection from the dead: to lead them therefore into a right understanding of this important article of faith, Christ, in speaking to Mary Magdalene, &c. makes use of terms which strongly imply his being really, that is, bodily risen from the dead: I am not yet ascended—but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, &c. The words, I go to my Father, Christ, as has already been observed, explained by the well understood phrase of leaving the world; and to this explanation the words immediately foregoing give so great a light, that it is impossible to mistake their meaning. The whole passage runs thus: I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father, Chap. John 16:28. By the expression, and am come into the world, Christ certainly meant to signify his being and conversing visibly and bodily upon earth; and therefore by the other expression, I leave the world, he must have intended to denote the contrary, viz. his ceasing to converse visibly and bodily upon earth. But as they very well knew that the usual road by which all men quitted this world, lay through the gates of death, and were assured that their Master had trodden the irremediable path, they might naturally conclude, that what he had said to them about leaving the world, &c. was accomplished in his death; and consistently with that notion might imagine, that by his coming again, no more was intended, than his appearing to them in the same manner as many persons have appeared after their decease. To guard against this double error, Christ plainly intimates to his disciples, in the words, I am not yet, &c. that his dying, and his final leaving of the world, were distinct things; the latter of which was still to come, though the former was past: he had indeed died and quitted the world like others; but he was now risen from the dead, returned into the world, and should not leave it finally till he ascended to his Father. Of his being returned into the world, his appearing to Mary Magdalene was intended for a proof; and yet of this it could be no proof at all, if what she saw was no more than what is commonly called a spirit; since the spirits of many people have appeared after their decease, who, notwithstanding, are supposed to have as effectually left this world by their death, as those who have never appeared at all. If therefore Christ was risen from the dead, as the angels affirmed he was; if he had not finally left the world, as the words, I am not yet ascended, &c. plainly import; and if his appearing to Mary Magdalene was intended as a proof of these two points, as undoubtedly it was; it will follow, that he was really, that is bodily, risen from the dead; that he was still in the world, in the same manner as when he came forth from the Father, &c. and that it was he himself, and not a spirit without bodily parts, that appeared to Mary Magdalene.

The term ascend is twice used by our Saviour in the compass of these few words. In the discourse alluded to, he told his disciples he should go to his Father, and he now bids Mary Magdalene tell them that he should ascend to his Father; a variation which had its particular meaning. For as by the former expression he intended to signify in general his final departure, so by the latter is the particular manner of that departure intimated; and, doubtless, with a view of letting his disciples know the precise time, after which they should no longer enjoy his converse, or expect to see him upon earth. When the disciples therefore beheld their Master taken up into heaven, they could not but know assuredly, that this was the event foretold about forty days before to Mary Magdalene; and, knowing that, could no longer doubt whether it was Christ himself who appeared and spoke those prophetic words to her. For if it was not Christ who appeared to her, it must either have been some spirit, good or bad; or some man, who, to impose upon her, counterfeited the person and voice of Christ; or lastly, the whole must have been forged and invented by her. The first of these suppositions is blasphemous, the second absurd, and the third improbable. For, allowing her to have been capable of making a lie for the sake of carrying on an imposture from which she could reap no benefit, and to have been informed of what our Saviour had spoken to his disciples the night in which he was betrayed, which does not appear, it must have been either extreme madness or folly in her, to put the credit of her story upon events, such as the appearing of Christ to his disciples, and his ascending into heaven, which were so far from being in the number of contingencies, that they were not even in the number of natural cau

Thus Jesus, having finished the great work of atonement, contemplated the effects of it with singular pleasure. The blessed relation between God and man, which had been long cancelled by sin was now happily renewed. The disciples had now a fresh assurance given them that God was reconciled to them; that he was become their God and Father; that they were exalted to the honourable relation of Christ's brethren, and God's children; and that their Father loved them with an affection greatly superior to that of the most tender-hearted parent. The kindness of this message will appear above all praise, if we call to mind the late behaviour of the persons to whom it was sent. They had every one of them forsaken Jesus in his greatest extremity; but he graciously forgave them; and, to assure them of their pardon in the strongest manner, without so much as hinting at their fault, he called them by the endearing name of his brethren.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on John 20:17". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/john-20.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

17.] The connexion between the prohibition and its reason is difficult, and has been very variously given. See a complete discussion of the exegetical literature of the passage in Stier, vi. 640–667. The sense seems to me to be connected with some gesture of the nature alluded to in the gloss above quoted, but indicating that she believed she had now gotten him again, never to be parted from Him. This gesture He reproves as unsuited to the time, and the nature of His present appearance. ‘Do not thus—for I am not yet restored finally to you in the body—I have yet to ascend to the Father.’ This implies in the background another and truer touching, when He should have ascended to the Father. “Vis me tangere, Maria; vis omnino frui amicitia mea: id nunc non licet, quum tantum οἰκονομικῶς, ad fidem vestram roborandam me do conspiciendum. At ubi ad Patrem ascendero, veniet tempus quum frui mea amicitia perfectissime poteris, non terrestri contactu, sed tali qui loco illi, i.e. cœlo conveniat, spirituali.” Grotius. With this my view nearly agrees, not confining (as indeed neither does he) the latter enjoyment to in cœlo, but understanding it to have begun here below. So Leo the Great, Serm. lxxiv. (alli(252). lxxii.) 4, p. 295: “Hinc illud est quod post resurrectionem suam Dominus Mariæ Magdalenæ personam Ecclesiæ gerenti cum ad contactum ipsius properaret accedere dicit; Noli me tangere, nondum enim ascendi ad Patrem meum: hoc est, nolo ut ad me corporaliter venias, nec ut me sensu carnis agnoscas: ad sublimiora te differo, majora tibi præparo: cum ad Patrem ascendero, tunc me perfectius veriusque palpabis, apprehensura quod non tangis, et creditura quod non cernis.”

The two renderings of ἅπτου to be guarded against are, (1) a laying hold of to retain (= μή με κράτει), (2) a laying hold of to worship ( ἐκράτησαν αὐτοῦ τοὺς πόδας, Matthew 28:9). Neither of these senses can be extracted from the word without forcing.

πορεύου δέ] Stier remarks that this was a far greater honour than that which had been forbidden her;—just as the handling of the Lord allowed to Thomas was a far less thing than the not seeing and yet believing.

τοὺς ἀδελφ. μου] By this term He testifies that He has not put off his humanity, nor his love for his own, in his resurrection state: see Hebrews 2:11.

πατ. μου κ. πατ. ὑμῶν] This distinction, μου κ. ὑμῶν, when ἡμῶν seems so likely to have been said, has been observed by all Commentators of any depth, as indicating an essential difference in the relations. Cyr.-jer(253) (Stier),— ἄλλως ἐμοῦ, κατὰ φύσιν· ἄλλως ὑμῶν, κατὰ θέσιν. Aug(254):—“Non ait, Patrem nostrum; aliter ergo meum, aliter vestrum; natura meum, gratia vestrum. Et, Deum meum et Deum vestrum. Neque hic dixit Deum nostrum; ergo et hic aliter meum, aliter vestrum. Deum meum, sub quo et Ego sum homo; Deum vestrum, inter quos et Ipsum Mediator sum.” Tract. cxxi.3.

The μου is the ground and source of the ὑμῶν,—therefore the Lord so speaks. Stier, vii. 32, edn. 2. “Nos, per Illum: Ille, singularissime et primo.” Bengel. But the θεόν μου indicates that He is still man: cf. Ephesians 1:3 and passim: 1 Corinthians 3:23; and especially Hebrews 2:11. In the ἀναβαίνω is included His temporary stay which He was now making with them—I am ascending—q. d. ‘I am on my way.’


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 20:17". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-20.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 20:17. ΄ὴ μου ἅπτου, touch Me not) She was wishing to do so in the way of adoration; but Jesus forbids it: For, 1) there was no need to touch Him, since she already believed: 2) there was close at hand, simultaneously with His ascension, the approaching state of a more elevated kind of faith, which required no touching to assure it: 3) the tidings were to be given without delay to the disciples; comp. Luke 10:4, “Salute no man by the way” [the charge to the Seventy to avoid delay, as their business was urgent and Oriental salutations tedious].— οὔπω, not yet) By this particle the Lord indicates, that the Ascension was immediately at hand, and that the disciples ought to make haste: for that it is for their sake that He delays, when He might immediately ascend.— γὰρ, for) The Ætiology [Assigning of a reason.—See Append.]: do not touch Me: for thou oughtest to go away quickly to announce the tidings: afterwards thou, and those to whom thou shalt have announced them, shall be able both to see and to touch Me.— δὲ, but) The antithesis is between, I have not yet ascended, and, I ascend.— ἀδελφούς μου, My brethren) See on Matthew 25:40. [At first He called them disciples; then friends, John 15:15; and once, speaking of the cross, little sons ( τεκνία): after the resurrection, παιδία, little children, ch. John 21:5, and brethren.] [The words in Matthew 12:50 rest on another and different principle, “Whosoever shall do the will of My Father in heaven, the same is My brother.”—V. g.] He calls them brethren: for His Father is also at the same time their Father; and by the appellation of Brethren, He intimates His favourable (propitious) feeling towards them, though by their flight and denial of Him they had become unworthy of all their former position and grade, and He offers to them all the fruit of His resurrection: being presently after about also to renew their commission (the sending of them forth), nay, more, about to enlarge it: John 20:21.— ἀναβαίνω, I ascend) This goes still further. He does not say, I have risen again; nor, I will ascend; but, I ascend. This time of the ascension is already regarded as present. Luke 9:51, note “The time that He should be received up.” [Jesus all along from the first looked on to the goal, His assumption into heaven, and regarded the forty days after His resurrection, nay, even the events preceding, as only a kind of παρασκευή or Preparation for the one great day of His Ascension]. So the mention of His glorious coming is immediately connected with His ascension. See Acts 1:11, “This same Jesus, winch is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” Wherein once it is said, He shall come; afterwards it is always, He cometh, in the present. Hence the disciples of themselves were about to infer, that they must make haste, in order that they might see Jesus. He had often spoken of this ascension as close at hand, by employing the word ὑπάγω, I go away.— πρὸς τὸν πατέρα μου καὶ πατέρα ὑμῶν, καὶ θεόν μου καὶ θεὸν ὑμῶν, to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God) Christ called God His God thrice; on the cross, Matthew 27:46, “My God, My God” etc.; after His resurrection, in this passage, and in the Apocalypse, ch. Revelation 2:7, note.(398) Ordinarily and elsewhere, He is wont to call God by the title of His Father. He joins together both appellations, for the first time, in this place: He calls Him Father, since He derives His Origination from Him; He calls Him God (never, His Lord), since He has Him for His End; and thus shows that He has every kind of tie binding Him to the God. Moreover, He freely bestows on His brethren a similar tie of relationship with the Father and God. He does not, however, say Our, but “My Father and your Father,” etc. We have our relationship to God through Him: He has His in a manner altogether peculiar to Himself and primarily. Here, too, the saying holds good: God is the God (and Father), not of the dead, but of the living; comp. ch. John 14:19, “Because I live, ye shall live also.”


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 20:17". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-20.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

There are in this verse two no mean difficulties: the one about the sense of the prohibition, when our Saviour forbade this woman to touch him; when after his resurrection {Matthew 28:9} he suffered the women to hold him by the feet, and himself {John 20:27} called Thomas to thrust his hand into the hole of his side. There are many opinions about it: the best seems to be the opinion of those who think that our Saviour saw Mary too fond, and too much in the embraces of her Lord, as if she thought he had been raised up to such a converse with them as he had before his death; and this error is all which he tasks her of, not forbidding her any kind of touching him, so far as to satisfy herself that he was truly risen from the dead, but restraining any such gross conception. The other difficulty, What force of a reason there could be for her not touching him because he had not yet ascended? is much solved by that answer to the former; reminding Mary that he was to ascend to his Father, though he had not yet ascended, and therefore not to be enjoyed by them with so much freedom and familiarity as before. But (saith he) go and tell

my brethren, that is, my disciples; whom the apostle tells us he is not ashamed to call brethren, Hebrews 2:11,12; that I ascend, that is, I shall shortly ascend,

to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God: though I shall very suddenly leave them, yet I shall go but to my Father and my God, and to their Father and their God.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 20:17". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-20.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Touch me not; when Christ met the two women, Matthew 28:9, they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Mary might now be approaching for this purpose. But Jesus wished her without delay to go and tell his disciples that he was risen from the dead. She would have opportunity before his ascension for all proper expressions of her regard for him.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 20:17". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-20.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

17. μή μ. ἄπτου. This is a passage of well-known difficulty. At first sight the reason given for refraining from touching would seem to be more suitable to a permission to touch. Comp. John 4:44. It is perhaps needless to enquire whether the γάρ refers to the whole of what follows or only to the first sentence, ‘I am not yet ascended to the Father.’ In either case the meaning would be, that the Ascension has not yet taken place, although it soon will do so, whereas Mary’s action assumes that it has taken place. If γάρ refers to the first clause only, then the emphasis is thrown on Mary’s mistake; if γάρ refers to the whole of what is said, then the emphasis is thrown on the promise that what Mary craves shall be granted in a higher way to both her and others very soon. The translation ‘touch Me not’ is inadequate and gives a false impression. Ἄπτεσθαι does not mean to ‘touch’ and ‘handle’ with a view to seeing whether His body was real; this Christ not only allowed but enjoined (John 20:27; Luke 24:39; comp. 1 John 1:1): rather it means to ‘hold on to’ and ‘cling to.’ Moreover it is the present (not aorist) imperative; and the full meaning will therefore be, ‘Do not continue holding Me,’ or simply, hold Me not. The old and often interrupted earthly intercourse is over; the new and continuous intercourse with the Ascended Lord has not yet begun: but that Presence will be granted soon, and there will be no need of straining eyes and clinging hands to realise it. (For a large collection of various interpretations see Meyer.) The reading πρὸς τ. πατέρα (without μου) agrees better with πρ. τ. ἀδ. μου. The general relationship applying both to Him and them is stated first, and then it is pointedly distinguished in its application to Him and to them.

ὰναβαίνω. I am ascending. The change has already begun: earth is His home no longer. In Luke 24:44 Jesus says, ‘These are My words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you.’ Mary’s error consisted in supposing that Jesus was again with her under the old conditions. He is with them no longer after the flesh: He only appears to them. Soon He will be in them as the glorified Christ. The present interval is one of transition. But He remains perfect Man: He still speaks of ‘My God.’ Comp. Revelation 3:12. Thus also S. Paul and S. Peter speak of ‘the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Comp. Ephesians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 11:31; 1 Peter 1:3; and see on Romans 15:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3, where the expression is blurred in the A.V.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
"Commentary on John 20:17". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/john-20.html. 1896.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘Jesus says to her, “Do not retain me, for I am not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God’.”

‘Do not retain me.’ It would appear that Mary must have been clinging to Him as though she would never let Him go, and so He gently removed her hands to let her know that there was a new beginning. These kindly words were intended to make clear to her that the old relationship no longer held. He was not to be seen as a man restored to life to live again on this earth. Rather He was about to ascend to His Father. Thus she must not cling to Him and retain Him. She must let Him go to become both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36). From now on she must worship Him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).

‘For I am not yet ascended to My Father.’ It is vain for us to attempt to understand exactly what these words involved, but they clearly refer to the body. His spirit would already have been with God. The point is simply to indicate the intermediate state in which He was to be found. His bodily resurrection and ascension were not as yet complete.

‘Go to my brothers.’ Essentially this indicates His disciples but eventually all believers who do the will of God (Mark 3:35). The term brother is a new one in their relationship with Him. They have moved from servant to friend (John 15:15) to brother (Romans 8:29; Hebrews 2:11).

‘I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’. This is probably not speaking of the later ascension after the resurrection appearances but an immediate ascension as He took His throne as the Son of Man, receiving all dominion and power and authority (Matthew 28:18; Daniel 7:13-14), and receiving the Holy Spirit Whom He would now pass on to His disciples. He had now been glorified and the Spirit could now be poured forth (John 7:38-39 compare John 16:7). We must beware of straitjacketing the cross and its aftermath. The purpose of what we call the Ascension was to indicate the last of the series of resurrection appearances not to say that He had not previously entered Heaven.

Note how He does not speak of ‘our Father’ or ‘our God’. His relationship to the Father is to be seen as distinctive from ours and unique, thus it is ‘my Father’ and ‘your Father’ and ‘my God’ and ‘your God’. As the Son He spoke of ‘My Father’, whereas we would speak of ‘our Father’; as glorified representative Man He spoke of ‘My God’, we would speak of ‘our God’. But in both cases His relationship with the Father was distinctive from ours. There is nothing surprising about His referring to ‘my God’. In His manhood He had regularly worshipped God, otherwise He would not have been truly human. This was simply an extension of the practise. It said nothing to diminish His divine status.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 20:17". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/john-20.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

17. Touch me not—Several manuscripts have the words she ran forward to touch him. As if in order to realize that it was truly her Lord, and not a pure spirit, she rushed forth to touch him. The word touch here, never signifies, as some interpret it, to embrace. That she, like the other women, (Matthew 28:9,) kneeling to him, embraced his knees, has no authority from any word of the Evangelists. She had the testimony of two of her senses, sight and hearing, that it was the Lord; and she now seeks the testimony of a third, namely, of feeling, in order to be sure that it is a body and not a pure spirit which addresses her. Our Lord forbids her touch, that she may not lose the honour of her pre-eminence of faith. He tests that faith by a command which she obeys, and stands first of faithful witnesses. You see me risen, Mary, according to Scripture prediction and to my promise; stop not to doubt, but bear the intelligence to the apostles.

I am not yet ascended—I have risen but not yet ascended. It is rather the implication risen, than the expression not ascended, which the Lord really most designs to convey. The real essence of the message is, that he is yet on earth, in his resurrection state and body, not yet having ascended.

I ascend—Present for future. Though yet here I soon depart.

My… your tender intimation that even on high he is their divine brother.

It is asked why our Lord, after forbidding the touch of Mary, permitted the embrace of the other women, and even invited the touch of Thomas. The reply is, that he prohibited the touch of Mary in order not to deprive her of her true merit of faith, which this experimental touch would have depreciated; but the embrace of the women was not a contact of experiment, but of love and worship. The touch of the disciples was invited, because their weak faith could not be confirmed without it; and that of Thomas was pressed upon him to drive scepticism from his soul.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 20:17". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-20.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Jesus" next words help us understand that Mary also embraced Jesus. Mary probably prostrated herself before Jesus and embraced His lower legs (cf. Matthew 28:9).

Jesus" words are very difficult to interpret. The translators rendered them, "Touch me not" (AV), "Stop clinging to me" (NASB), and "Do not hold on to me" (NIV). The meaning depends to some extent on what Jesus meant when He said, "For I have not yet ascended to the Father."

One view is that Jesus" second statement connects with what follows it rather than with what precedes it. [Note: S. E. Porter, Verbal Aspect in the Greek of the New Testament, with Reference to Tense and Mood, p356.] Since Jesus had not yet ascended to His Father (Gr. anabebeka, perfect tense) Mary should go to the disciples and tell them that He was not yet ascending (Gr. anabaino, present tense). According to this view the initial prohibition against touching Jesus stands alone. The weaknesses of this view are two. First, there is no other example of this anticipatory use of "for" (Gr. gar, translated "since") in the New Testament. Second, it fails to explain any reason for Jesus" prohibition.

Advocates of a second view understand Jesus as telling Mary to release Him because she must go to the disciples with a message. [Note: M. Zerwick, Biblical Greek Illustrated by Examples, pp159-60 , 476.] However it is very unusual for the preposition "for" (Gr. gar) to link a prohibition and an imperative. [Note: Carson, The Gospel . . ., p642.] Furthermore this reading makes "for I have not yet ascended to the Father" a rather meaningless parenthetical remark.

A third view is that it was inappropriate for Mary to hold Jesus since He had not yet ascended to the Father, but it was appropriate for Thomas to touch Jesus ( John 20:27). Therefore Jesus must have ascended to the Father and returned between His appearances to Mary and Thomas. [Note: Chafer, 4:118; 5:262-63; 7:20.] Yet there is no biblical evidence that Jesus ascended to the Father and returned from Him between these two appearances. Moreover it is unclear why ascending to the Father should make any difference in the disciples" physical contact with Jesus" body.

A fourth view regards Jesus" statement as not expressing temporal sequence. Advocates regard it as a theological point instead. Jesus was contrasting His passing presence in His post-resurrection state with His permanent presence through the Spirit. [Note: Brown, 2:1014-15; Barrett, The Gospel ..., p566.] What Jesus meant was that Mary should refrain from touching Him because even though He had not yet ascended to the Father He would do so shortly. The resurrection had introduced a new relationship between Jesus and His disciples in which physical contact was inappropriate. This view puts more emphasis on Jesus" exaltation in His passion than the New Testament writers did, including John. Moreover it is impossible to dissociate Jesus" statement from a sequence of events since His death, resurrection, and ascension did happen in sequence (cf. John 20:28-29). Finally this view fails to explain why Jesus permitted Thomas to touch Him ( John 20:27) but did not allow Mary to do so.

The best explanation seems to be that Mary was holding onto Jesus as though she would never let Him go (cf. Matthew 28:9). Jesus told her to stop doing that or, if He knew she was about to do it, He told her not to do it. He was almost ready to disappear permanently. The reason she should release Him was that He had not yet ascended to the Father. He had other work to do first. Only in heaven would it be possible for loving believers such as Mary to maintain contact with Jesus forever. [Note: Cf. Carson, The Gospel . . ., pp644-45; Tenney, " John ," p191; Blum, p342; Morris, pp742-43; Wiersbe, 1:390; Beasley-Murray, p376.] This view makes good sense of the text and harmonizes with Jesus" invitation to Thomas ( John 20:27). Thomas needed to touch Jesus to strengthen his faith. Mary needed to release Him because she did not have to fear losing Him.

The message that Mary was to carry to the disciples was that Jesus was going to return to the Father. She would obviously report that Jesus was alive, but Jesus wanted her to communicate more than that. Jesus had spoken of His ascension before (e.g, John 7:33; John 14:12; John 14:28; John 16:5; John 16:10; John 16:17; John 16:28). His disciples needed to understand that His death and resurrection had not wiped out these earlier predictions.

Jesus described the Father in a new way. He was Jesus" Father, but He was also the disciples" Father. Jesus did not say "our" Father. He and His disciples had a different relationship to the Father. Nevertheless they were all sons of the Father albeit in a different sense (cf. John 1:12-13; John 1:18; John 5:19-30). Therefore Jesus called the disciples His "brothers" here. The context clarifies that Jesus was referring to the disciples and not to His physical half-brothers ( John 20:18). Likewise Jesus" relationship to God was similar to, though not exactly the same as, the disciples" relationship to God. The emphasis in Jesus" statement was on the privileges that His disciples now shared with Him because of His death, resurrection, and ascension (cf. Romans 8:15-16; Hebrews 2:11-12).


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 20:17". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-20.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 20:17. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God. Many different interpretations have been given of these words, some coarse, others either requiring the introduction into the text of thoughts that are not there, or too far-fetched and mystical.

The meaning has been made more difficult by a want of sufficient attention to the force of the words ‘Touch me not;’ for these words do not express the touch of a moment only, but a touch that continues for a time. They are equivalent to ‘Keep not thy touch upon me,’ ‘Handle me not,’ ‘Cling not to me.’ Mary would have held her Lord fast with the grasp of earthly friendship and love. She needed to be taught that the season for such bodily touching of the Word of Life was past. But, as it passed, the disciples were not to be left desolate: the season for another touching—deeper, because spiritual—began. Jesus would return to His Father, and would send forth His Spirit to dwell with His disciples. Then they should see Him, hear Him, handle Him, touch Him, in the only way in which He can now be seen and heard and handled and touched. In a true and living faith they shall embrace Him with a touch never more to be withdrawn or interrupted. Hence the important word ‘brethren.’ Those to whom the message is sent are more than disciples; they are ‘brethren’ of their Lord. His Father is their Father, and His God their God. They are entering upon a state of spiritual fellowship with the Father similar to His own; and that fellowship is to be the distinguishing characteristic of their new condition. Thus the message sent by Mary to the ‘brethren’ of the Lord is not a mere message that He has risen from the grave. The thought of His resurrection is rather embraced only as a part of a new and permanent state of things which has come in. Even here, however, it is important to observe that the distinction between our Lord and His disciples is still carefully preserved. Jesus does not say ‘Our Father,’ but ‘My Father and your Father;’ so that the significance of ‘brethren’ lies in this, that the word is used in the very verse which proclaims so clearly the difference between Him and them.—The words ‘the Father,’ in the first part of the Lord’s address to Mary, ought not to pass unnoticed. The reader may compare what has been said on chap. John 8:27. He will then see that the expression ‘the Father’ here combines in one thought all that is implied in the four designations that follow—‘My Father,’ ‘Your Father,’ ‘My God,’ ‘Your God.’—‘I ascend’ is not to be understood (as some have maintained) of an immediate ascension, inconsistent alike with the forty days of Acts 1:3 and with the subsequent narratives of this very Gospel. Yet neither are we to understand it as if it meant ‘I will ascend’ at some future day. The use of the present is to be explained by the consideration that the Resurrection of our Lord was really the beginning of His Ascension. At that point earth ceased to be the Saviour’s home as it had been; and He Himself was no longer in it what He had been. Thus it might be said by Him, ‘I ascend.’ ‘My ascent is begun, and shall be soon completed: then shall I enter into My glory, and the Spirit shall be bestowed in all His fulness.’

The contrast between the relation in which Jesus places Himself to Mary in this verse, and to Thomas in John 20:27 (comp. Luke 24:39), has often been dwelt upon as if it afforded evidence of the untrustworthy nature of the whole narrative before us. Yet a moment’s consideration will satisfy any one that the difference in our Lord’s object on these two occasions necessarily involved a difference in His treatment of those whom He would lead to a full knowledge of Himself. Thomas has to be convinced that He who stands before him is indeed his Lord and Master risen from the grave. Mary believes that Jesus is risen, but needs further intimation as to His present state. To have treated the latter in the same manner as the former would have been to make Mary stop short of the very point to which Jesus would conduct her. To have treated the former as the latter would have been to unfold to Thomas the mystery of the resurrection state of Jesus, while he had not yet accepted the fact that the resurrection had taken place.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 20:17". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-20.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 20:17. ΄ή μου ἅπτου, “noli me tangere,” not because it was indecorous (Luke 7:38); nor because she wished to assure herself by touch that the appearance was real, a test which He did not prevent His disciples from applying; nor because her embrace would disturb the process of glorification through which His body was passing; nor, following Kypke’s note, can we suppose that Jesus forbids Mary to worship Him [although K. proves that ἅπτεσθαι is used of that clinging to the knees or feet which was adopted by suppliants], because He accepts Thomas’ worship even before His ascension; but, as He Himself says, οὔπω γὰρ ἀναβέβηκα πρὸς τὸν πατέρα μου, “for I have not yet ascended to my Father,” implying that this was not His permanent return to visible fellowship with His disciples. Mary, by her eagerness to seize and hold Him, showed that she considered that the μικρόν, the “little time,” of John 16:16, was past, and that now He had returned to be for ever with them. Jesus checks her with the assurance that much had yet to happen before that. His disciples must at once be disabused of that misapprehension. Therefore, πορεύουὑμῶν, “Go to my brothers [ ἀδελφούς μου, here for the first time; in anticipation of the latter part of the sentence, cf. Mark 3:35] and tell them, I ascend to my Father and your Father, and my God and your God”. He thus forms a relationship which bound Him to them more closely than His bodily presence. His place by right is with God. But His love binds Him as certainly to His people on earth as His rights carry Him to God. The form of the expression is dictated by His desire to give them assurance. They had no doubt God was His God and Father. He teaches them that, if so, He is their God and Father. ἔρχεταιαὐτῇ, Mary carries forthwith the Lord’s message to the disciples, cf. Mark 16:10; Matthew 28:10; Luke 24:10.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 20:17". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-20.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

will not leave you again; be not in a hurry to touch me; you shall all have this pleasure. I will remain with you some time, before my ascension. Announce my resurrection to my apostles. You shall see me again. This is the interpretation most modern commentators put upon this place. Others suppose, that Magdalene imagined he was risen from the dead to live with men as before, like Lazarus. He addresses these words to her to disabuse her of this notion. (Calmet)


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on John 20:17". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/john-20.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Touch Me not = Do not be holding Me. Greek. hapto. Only here in John; elsewhere, thirty-nine times. See Matthew 8:3, Matthew 8:18; Matthew 9:20, Matthew 9:21, Matthew 9:29.

not. Greek me. App-105.

for. This gives the reason for the prohibition. He afterwards allowed the women to hold Him by the feet (Matthew 28:9). On this day, the morrow after the Sabbath, the high priest would be waving the sheaf of the firstfruits before the Lord (Leviticus 23:10, Leviticus 23:11); while He, the firstfruits from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:23), would be ful filling the type by presenting Himself before the Father.

not yet. Greek. oupo; compound of ou. App-105.

My Father. See on John 2:16.

My brethren. Compare Matthew 12:50; Matthew 28:1, Matthew 28:0. Hebrews 2:11.

ascend = am ascending.

My . . . your. This marks the essential difference in His and their relationship with the Father. But because God is the God and Father of our Lord (Ephesians 1:3) He is therefore our God and Father too.

God. Greek. Theos. App-98.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 20:17". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-20.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: - `Old familiaries must now give place to new and more awful, yet sweeter approaches; but for these the time has not come yet.' This seems the spirit, at least, of these mysterious words, on which much difference of opinion has obtained, and not much that is satisfactory been said.

But go to my brethren. (Compare Matthew 28:10; Hebrews 2:11; Hebrews 2:17.) That He had still our Humanity, and therefore "is not ashamed to call us brethren," is indeed grandly evidenced by these words. But it is worthy of most reverential notice, that we nowhere read of anyone who presumed to call Him Brother. "My brethren!" exclaims devout Dr. Hall, 'Blessed Jesus, who are these? Were they not Thy followers? yea, Thy forsakers? ... How dost Thou raise these titles with Thyself! At first they were Thy servants; then disciples; a little before Thy death, they were Thy friends; now, after Thy resurrection, they were Thy brethren. But O, mercy without measure! how wilt Thou, how canst Thou, call them brethren whom, in Thy last parting, Thou foundest fugitives? Did they not run from Thee? Did not one of them rather leave his inmost coat behind him than not be quit of Thee? And yet Thou sayest, "Go, tell My brethren!" It is not in the power of the sins of our infirmity to unbrother us.'

And say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and [to] my God and your God - words of incomparable glory! Jesus had called God habitually His Father, and on one occasion, in His darkest moments, His God. But both are here united, expressing that fullorbed relationship which embraces in its vast sweep at once Himself and His redeemed. Yet, note well, He says not, Our Father and our God. All the deepest of the Church Fathers were wont to call attention to this, as expressly designed to distinguish between what God is to Him and what He is to us-His Father essentially; ours not so: our God essentially; His not so: His God only in connection with us; our Father only in connection with Him.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 20:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-20.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(17) Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father.—The probable explanation of these words is to be found in the fact that she had cast herself at His feet with the customary reverential embrace of the knees, and perhaps to make doubly sure the fact that it was the Lord’s body, and that His words are meant to prevent this. The words themselves must be carefully considered. “Touch” represents a Greek word which means to “cling to,” to “fasten on,” to “grasp” an object. The tense is present, and the prohibition is, therefore, not of an individual act, but of a continuance of the act, of the habit, “Do not continue clinging to Me.” Her act supposed a condition which had not yet been accomplished. He had not returned to earth to abide permanently with His disciples in the presence of the Paraclete (comp. John 14:18), for He had not yet ascended to the Father. There should come a permanent closeness of union in His presence in the soul; but then the spirit which her act was manifesting was one which would prevent this presence. The coming of the Paraclete depended upon His going to the Father (comp. John 16:7), but she would cling to a visible presence, and has not learnt the truth so hard to learn, “It is expedient for you that I go away” (John 16:7.)

But go to my brethren, and say unto them.—Comp. Notes on Matthew 28:10, and on John 15:15. There is a special force in the word “brethren” as spoken by the risen Lord, in that it declares the continuance of His human nature. (See Hebrews 2:11.)

I ascend unto my Father, and your Father.—The present is used of the future, which He regards as immediately at hand. The message to the brethren is an assurance that the going to the Father, of which He had so often spoken to them, was about to be realised. The victory over death has been accomplished. This appearance on earth is an earnest of the return to heaven. “Unto My Father,” He now says, “and your Father.” It is a more emphatic expression than “our Father” would have been. “I ascend unto My Father. Because He is My Father, He is also your Father, and you are My brethren. My victory over death was the victory of man, whose nature has in Me conquered death. My ascension into heaven will be the ascension of human nature, which in Me goes to the Father.”

My God, and your God.—This phrase contains the same fulness of meaning, and adds the special thought of the continuity of the human nature of our Lord, which has already appeared in the word “brethren.” (See Note above.)


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 20:17". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-20.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
Touch
Or rather, "embrace me not," or, "cling not to me," [me mou
27; 2 Kings 4:29; 7:9; Matthew 28:7,9; Luke 10:4
my brethren
Psalms 22:22; Matthew 12:50; 25:40; 28:10; Romans 8:29; Hebrews 2:11-13
I ascend
13:1,3; 14:2,6,28; 16:28; 17:5,11,25; Psalms 68:18; 89:26; Luke 24:49-51; Ephesians 1:17-23; 4:8-10; 1 Peter 1:3
your Father
1:12,13; Romans 8:14-17; 2 Corinthians 6:18; Galatians 3:26; 4:6,7; 1 John 3:2; Revelation 21:7
your God
Genesis 17:7,8; Psalms 43:4; 48:14; Isaiah 41:10; Jeremiah 31:33; 32:38; Ezekiel 36:28; Ezekiel 37:27; Zechariah 13:7-9; Hebrews 8:10; 11:16; Revelation 21:3

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 20:17". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-20.html.

Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible

John 20:17

"Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God."John 20:17

Why your Father? Because my Father. Why your God? Because my God. As his only-begotten Son from all eternity, God was the God of our Lord Jesus Christ; as the Father"s messenger and servant, doing his will upon earth, even in his lowest humiliation, God was his God; and now that he has risen from the dead and gone up on high to be the great High Priest over the house of God, now that he is entered into his glory and ever lives to make intercession for us, God is still his God. This view of Jesus is most strengthening and encouraging to faith.

The great and glorious God, the great self-existent I Amos , the God in whom we live and move and have our being, the God before whom we stand with all we are and have, the God against and before whom we have so deeply and dreadfully sinned—this great and glorious God is "the God of our Lord Jesus Christ." We may, therefore, draw near unto him with all holy boldness, present our supplications before him, call upon his holy name, and worship him with all reverence and godly fear as the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our God in him. A believing view of God, as revealing himself in the person of his dear Song of Solomon , as reconciling us to himself by his precious blood, as accepting us in the Beloved, and not imputing our trespasses unto us, disarms God of all his terrors, removes the bondage of the law out of our hearts and the guilt of sin from our consciences, enlarges, comforts, and solaces the soul, soothes the troubled spirit, and casts out that fear which has torment.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Philpot, Joseph Charles. "Commentary on John 20:17". Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jcp/john-20.html.

Ver. 17. "Jesus saith unto her. Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God."

The "Touch Me not" presupposes that Mary was in the act of touching the Lord, for He would refuse only that which was proffered. ἅπτεσθαι is always used in the Old Testament of bodily touching; in Luke 7:39 it is used specifically of Mary in relation to Jesus; and as there is nothing to limit the meaning here, we may regard the Lord as forbidding bodily touching as such. The women in Matthew 28:9 embraced the feet of Jesus, and He forbade them not. The disciples are challenged by the Lord in Luke 24:39 to handle Him, ψηλαφήσατέ με; and to Thomas He said, "Reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side." Therefore the reason of the prohibition must be sought in the personal character of Mary, and in the passionate nature of the touch which sprang from that character. Mary would embrace the Lord. She thought that the limits which had formerly existed between her Lord and herself (many very incorrectly make her suppose that she could continue to act towards her Lord "in the old style of confidence") were, now that the Saviour had passed into another form of existence, removed; and that she might now give free course to her feelings, without fearing the admixture of anything human in her sentiment towards her Lord. But the Lord repelled her. "Touch Me not, for I am not yet ascended to My Father:" My glorification is not yet perfect; the partition still remains in part which the infirmity of human nature erected between you and Me; but soon, when I have gone to the end of the way which I have now entered, this partition will be withdrawn. Every one will be able to express, without any reservation, love to Him who sitteth at the right hand of the Father.

The ascension appears here, as in Mark and Luke, to be a stage of the Redeemer's course quite distinct from the resurrection, while inseparably connected with it and its necessary complement. John mentions the ascension thrice, in ch. John 3:13, John 6:62, and this passage. His silence, therefore, as to the historical event must not be considered as implying an acquaintance with it,—an ignorance which his relation to Mark and Luke, apart from every other consideration, renders it impossible to maintain. Matthew does not record the ascension; and yet he mentions, ch. Matthew 26:64, comp. Matthew 28:8, Christ's sitting at the right hand of God, which presupposes the ascension. If, in opposition to all the Evangelists, we make the resurrection simply the restoration of Christ to life as before, then the ascension assumes the character of a new stage, and it is difficult to understand how any Evangelist could omit the record of it. But if, on the other hand, we admit that Christ rose in a glorified body, the resurrection and the ascension are, as it were, one, and bound up together. The latter event, in that case, must take place so soon as Christ had sufficiently attested His resurrection, and given the instructions and commissions which rested on the resurrection. Anton: "The resurrection placed the Redeemer in a new kind of life. Therefore He could not remain upon earth; but there was an ascension to come." It was all the less necessary for John to narrate the fact of the ascension, as his predecessors had given the narrative in a very complete manner.

The prohibition is followed by a commission. Mary must go to the Apostles, and give them information of the approaching ascension of the Redeemer. Why did the Lord send them intelligence of His approaching ascension, and not of His resurrection already accomplished? Why does He say nothing about His appearing in their midst, and His manifold intercourse with them afterwards? The answer is, that the essential consolation of the resurrection lay in the ascension which was connected with it, by which Christ would enter into the full possession of His Divine glory, and thus be able in the most effectual manner to care for His disciples and help His Church. Christ sitting at the right hand of the Father is the proper and all-sufficient consolation of the Church. Not until He should be with the Father, who was greater than He, ch. John 14:28; not until the Father had glorified Him with the glory which He had before the foundation of the world, ch. John 17:5, could He equip His disciples with irresistible might. The appearances of the risen Lord, far from being excluded by this message, which only gave prominence to the great central fact, were all the more to be expected after that message. If Christ was truly going to His Father, it was needful that He should give His disciples, before His departure, indubitable proofs that the bands of death could not hold Him. The entire position of the Apostles demanded that Christ should appear in their midst. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15 , pretermits the appearances of Christ to the women, in token that the faith of the Church could not be based upon them; that they were only the prelude of the proper fundamental manifestations. But if our Lord had pre-announced His appearances in the apostolic circle, they would have lost that character of abruptness which it was manifestly appropriate that they should bear.

Jesus says, "I ascend," not "I will ascend," in order to intimate that His whole being already tended towards the ascension, which would have immediately taken place had it not been necessary to give the Apostles demonstration that He had risen, and to leave with them His last injunctions.

Our Lord here for the first time calls His disciples brethren. This He did primarily with allusion to Psalms 22:23, where the Righteous One delivered from the bands of death says, "I will declare Thy name unto my brethren." But this designation had a deeper reason. It pointed to that more profound fellowship between Jesus and His people,—a fellowship created by that redeeming death of which the resurrection was the seal. Christ having given His life for them, translated them from friends into brethren, ch. John 15:15. Anton: "Christ used this term first after His resurrection, because the resurrection was the seal of the atonement with its satisfaction, so that they might be assured now of their fellowship with Christ and in Christ. Although He has gone into glory, He makes His disciples already, as it were, sharers of it; He clothes them with His dignity, and is not ashamed to call them brethren (Hebrews 2:12)." How full of consolation this new designation was to be, the sequel shows. As brethren they were the partakers of that glory which He had obtained by His death; His God, who received Him into that glory, became their God.

He does not say "to our Father, to our God," because He was Christ's God and Father in a different sense from that in which He was their God and Father. He was their God only because He was Christ's God and they Christ's brethren. Augustin: Natur meum, grati vestrum: Mine by nature, yours by grace.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 20:17". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-20.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, July 4th, 2020
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology