April 25 – LD 17, Day 3: The Risen Lord Appeared unto Mary
Wednesday the 25th of April
in Heidelberg Catechism Meditations
John 20:17 - “Jesus saith unto her (Mary), 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.”
Once we accept the miracle of the resurrected body, we have to say something yet about the appearances of Jesus in that resurrected body.
The Bible records about 10 appearances of Jesus after His resurrection. We call them “appearances” because when Jesus was present in His resurrected body, no one could see Him. That body was of the material which marked the new earth. Because of this, we have no record of where Jesus spent His time during the 40 days between the resurrection and the ascension. He did not have to eat, nor sleep, nor rest as He did in His former human nature. He could pass through walls and make a sudden appearance in the upper room. If we stop to think of it, many of His appearances were necessary to convince us He was on the other side of the grave. He made sure we understood He was the same Jesus (John 20:20b “He shewed unto them his hands and His side”). He also made sure we did not view Him as a ghost (Luke 24:41b “Have ye here any meat?” we know that spirits don’t eat food), yet He had a real body.
This explains the narrative quoted above. Mary was delivered from demons and she rejoiced in her role to minister to the earthly needs of Jesus. When Jesus spoke her name in the garden, she instinctively knew it was Jesus and wanted to embrace Him, thinking she could once more have her Lord back again. Jesus appeared to her to confirm for her that He was alive, but not as it was in the past. “Touch me not”. I am not back on earth as before; I must appear before my Father in heaven. He is on the other side of the grave and He wants Mary and us to look towards heaven. Note that a few verses later, Jesus says to doubting Thomas, “Touch me”! I am the same Jesus, put your hands in the nail holes and believe. He ministered to each need by means of the appearance.
The appearances enabled Jesus to take a temporary visual form to confirm His resurrection.
May they serve the same purpose to strengthen your faith in His resurrection.