Jesus said to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brothers, and say to them, I ascend to my Father…
I. THE PERSONS TO WHOM THE MESSAGE IS ADDRESSED.
1. Why not the Scribes and Pharisees, &c., and render His resurrection undeniable? Because — "Whosoever hath to him shall be given," &c. He never refused explanation to any humble inquirer — but He will not force information upon those that "hated knowledge." To what purpose is it to adduce evidence to those that shut their eyes? They knew the report of the guards. But His own followers only laboured under infirmities. They wished to be established in the truth. These He calls — "My brethren." This is more than He could have said of angels. He is only their Lord. "It behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren," &c. Many an elder brother has stood between the affections of the father and the rest of the children, and by engrossing the whole of the inheritance has reduced the younger branches to dependence, if not to want; but Jesus pitied those who were less happy than Himself, and determined to make them partakers of all His honours and riches. Thus they are "heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ." By using this name He would —
1. Show that His elevation had not made Him forgetful of those He was to leave behind.
2. Comfort them. They had acted a very unworthy part, and their consciences made them uneasy. By this He seems to call after them, and say, "Return, ye backsliding children." Thus He dispels their anxiety, and fills them with hope. And thus He realizes His illustrious type.
3. Intimate their duty? "Since I do not disown you, notwithstanding your imperfections — follow My example; love as brethren."
II. THE SUBSTANCE OF THE INTELLIGENCE. This ascension was real and local. Let us consider it in reference to —
(1) He returned to the place whence He came, and assumed the glory which He obscured.
(2) To enjoy the reward of His humiliation and sufferings.
2. His enemies.
(1) Thus He is a Conqueror. He had foes, but He vanquished them; "and having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly." Sin, the devil, the world, death — these are the enemies He has overcome. And to-day He enjoys His triumph. "Lift up your heads, O ye gates," &c.
(2) But as He triumphs, He also bestows upon us various and inestimable blessings — "gave gifts unto men."
3. His people.
(1) He ascended as the High Priest of their profession.
(2) As their Head and Representative.
(3) As their Protector and Governor.Conclusion: And now what remains but that we translate this article of our creed into our lives.
1. Follow Him where He now is. "If ye then be risen with Christ," &c., why then are you so attached to earth? Why seek ye the living among the dead?
2. "Seeing that we have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession."
3. What encouragement can you want to rejoice in Him? You have a Brother at court.
4. "But where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?"
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.