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5. “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father”



John 20:17 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.


Jesus said these words to Mary Magdalene. Many people explain it as Jesus preventing Mary from making Him impure. However, that is not what the Bible actually says. The Greek word used in this verse is “haptomai” which has two variations. One meaning is “to actually touch”, while the other meaning is “to cling on tightly”.

Let us now go to the parallel illustration of the same story in the gospel according to Matthew.


Mat 28:9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. 10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.


Here we read that Mary Magdalene actually touched Jesus and held on to His feet. She in fact held on to His feet very firmly that Jesus told her “Do not cling on to me”.


This ambiguity in the Greek word “haptomai” was addressed in the updated versions as:


NKJV Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’


ESV Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”


NLTDon’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”


NIV Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”


So, Jesus was merely telling Mary Magdalene to stop clinging to Him because she still had time for that in the next few more days, before He ascended to Heaven. Instead Mary should go tell the good news to His disciples also. Remember that Matthew 28:9 tells us that Mary Magdalene had already touched Him.

So, any interpretation that Mary did not touch Jesus is erratic. And that touching him would make Jesus impure is even more erroneous, and in direct contradiction to Matt 28:9.

Sin cannot overcome God. God overcame Sin.
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