John 20:18
The risen Christ was the link between Deity and mankind. Standing beyond the tomb, yet below the clouds, he sent a message to the disciples whom he was about to leave, concerning the Divine Father whom he was about to join. How fitly, wisely, and tenderly did he communicate with them in these words!

I. DOCTRINE CONCERNING CHRIST HIMSELF.

1. His humanity. He still calls the apostles "my brethren." Although he has risen in glory, and is about to ascend in majesty, "he is not ashamed to call them brethren." Having for men's sake passed through sorrow and death, so far from forgetting what he has endured, he regards his humiliation and sorrow as a bond of attachment uniting him to those whose experience he has partaken.

2. His Sonship. He says, "My Father." Though he has been suffered to drink the cup of bitterness, though he has uttered the cry of desolation, though his body has lain in the earth, still his relation to God is the same as before his Passion. In all he has freely done what was pleasing to God. Still and ever is he the beloved Son, in whom the Father is well pleased. He is mighty as man's Representative. The Mediator and the Brother of mankind is the Son of God.

3. His subordination. He says, "My God." On three occasions our Lord made use of this appellation - on the cross, in this connection, and in Revelation 3:12 from the throne of glory. Similar language is often used of him by the apostles, who call the Eternal "the God and Father of our Lord." It is not for us to understand all that our Savior means when, in his humiliation and obedience and subjection, he declared, "My Father is greater than I."

II. DOCTRINE CONCERNING CHRISTIANS.

1. They are brethren of the risen Savior. So he here expressly calls them, sending them at the same time a fraternal message. It is a gracious word of cheer and encouragement to those who have been enduring suspense, sorrow, and depression.

2. They have with Christ a community of relation with God. What the infinite Father is to Christ, that - such is the unity between the Master and the disciples - that is he also to the lowliest and the feeblest of Christ's friends and followers.

3. In this community, however, there is a marked distinction. Jesus does not say, "Our Father and God," as if there were equality between Jesus and his disciples. In fact, God is Father of Christ according to the nature of the Godhead, of Christians according to grace and adoption; he is God of Christ so far as our Lord's humanity is regarded, of Christians by the covenant relation he has instituted.

4. In this community there is a mediatorial superiority on the one side, and a corresponding dependence on the other. It is through Christ Jesus that the character, the disposition, the gracious purposes of the Father are made known to us, and it is especially through him that the Divine Fatherhood is declared; and it is through Christ Jesus that the relations in question are actually established and are constantly maintained.

APPLICATION. This message, in the first instance addressed to the apostles, is left with the whole Church of the Redeemer, that all Christ's people may not only know where he has gone, but may realize the purpose of his going as far as they are concerned, and may enjoy the assurance that his Father is their Father, and his God their God. - T.







Jesus saith unto her, Touch Me not.
What a strange thing that both the old world and the new should have began with the same prohibition.

(Dean Burgon.)

The lesson is to a soul brought into the conscious presence of the Lord. Oh, to be in that condition! Mary Magdalene had wept because of her Lord's absence, and longed to find Him; and now she has her desire: He stands before her. Oh, that we knew where, we might find Him (Job 23:3)! Her conduct in holding Him by the feet was natural, and yet it was forbidden by a higher wisdom than that of mortal men.

I. THE CAUTION. "Touch Me not."

1. We may blunder even in our closest friendship, and need a prohibition. We have never need of greater caution than in our nearest approaches to God. Courtiers must be most careful in the throne-room.

2. We may carnalize the spiritual. This has ever been a tendency with even the best of the saints; and it has misled many in whom affection has been stronger than intellect.

3. We may seek most passionately what is by no means essential. The assurance of sense, by touch or otherwise: when the assurance of faith is far better, and quite sufficient. The detaining of one who has no intention of going.

4. We may crave what were better further on. When we are raised to eternal glory we shall be able to enjoy what now we must not ask.

5. We may be selfish in our enjoyments. Staying to contemplate alone by ourselves, when we ought rather to bless others by publishing the blessed news (2 Kings 7:9).

II. THE MISSION. "Go to My brethren." She would have preferred to stay, but Jesus bids her go.

1. This was better for her. Contemplation alone may degenerate into the sentimental, the sensuous, the impracticable.

2. This was better for them. They heard the best of news from the most trustworthy of informants.

3. This was unquestionably done by this holy woman. What she had seen she declared. What she had heard she told. Women are said to be communicative; and so there was wisdom in the choice. Women are affectionate, and so persuasive; and therefore fit to bear such a tender message as we have now to consider.

III. THE TITLE. "My brethren." Our Lord, of design, chose this title to comfort His sorrowing ones. They had so acted as almost to cease to be His followers, disciples, or friends; but brotherhood is an abiding relationship. They were —

1. His brethren, though He was about to ascend to His throne. He was still a man, though no more to suffer and die. He still represented them as their risen Head. He was still one with them in all His objects and prospects.

2. His brethren, though they had forsaken Him in His shame. Relationship abiding, for brotherhood cannot be broken. Relationship owned more than ever; since their sense of guilt made them afraid. He was a true Joseph to them (Genesis 45:4). Relationship dwelt upon, that they might be reassured. Never let us omit the tender sweetness of the gospel, its courtesies, benedictions, and love-words, such as the "My brethren" of the text before us. If we leave out these precious words we shall mar the Master's message of grace.

IV. THE TIDINGS. "I ascend unto My Father, and your Father." This message was meant to arouse and comfort them.

1. By the news of His departure they are to be aroused.

2. By the news of His ascension they are to be confirmed.

3. By His ascension to the common Father they are to be comforted with the prospect of coming there themselves. He is not going into an unknown country, but to His home and theirs (John 14:2).

4. By His ascent to God they are to be struck with solemn awe, and brought the more reverently to look for His presence among them. See how practical our Lord is, and how much He values the usefulness of His servants. Have we not somewhat to tell? Whether man or woman, tell the Lord's brethren what the Lord hath told to thee.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Mary Magdalene, because she loved much, had this morning divers favours vouchsafed her. Now comes an unkind word and mars all. A cold salutation for an Easterday morning. A little before He asked why she wept? This is enough to set her on weeping afresh. For if she wept that others had taken away her Lord, much more now when her Lord takes away Himself. Christ came unknown, and then known; but, unknown, Christ proves better to her, for then He asked her kindly why she wept? but known, He grows strange to forbid her to touch.

I. THE RESTRAINT.

1. The thing forbidden. It is nothing to touch; and yet to touch Christ is not nothing. Many strove to touch Him, and there went virtue from Him even while He was mortal: but now He is immortal much more. That was not her case to draw ought from Him: it was for pure love. To love it is not enough to hear, or see; but to touch and take hold. The nearest union is per contactum.

2. The party. Not Christ. Why not Him? Christ was not wont to be so dainty. He suffered the rude multitude to throng and to thrust Him. Noli Me tangere would have done well on Good Friday. Why suffered He them then? why suffered He not her now? For all she had done and suffered one poor touch had been but an easy recompense. Of all other, this prohibition lay not against her: of all times, not at this.

II. If we look at THE REASON shall we shall find it yet more strange — "I am not yet ascended." But when He was ascended, one would think, she should be further off still. Let us consult upon this prohibition. Noli Me tangere can rise but one of these ways.

1. On His part that was touched. "Touch Me not," you will hurt Me, or, I shall hurt you; I am fire, I shall scorch you: an edge tool, I shall wound you: pitch, I shall defile you: some contagious thing, I shall infect you. But Christ was not now in state to receive or do any hurt.

2. We resolve, then, it was notch Christ's part. He might be touched, and was by Thomas; but on hers she might not touch Him.-1 thinks it was to correct her want of due reverence. After her wonted fashion, she made toward Him; nor with that regard which His new glorified estate demanded. The touchstone of our touching Christ is with all regard and reverence that may be. Two causes of this. One, a defect in her judgment; the other, an excess in her affection. Christ's reason imports as much. You touch Me, not as if I were upon ascending, but as if to stay here still. Hence we learn, that when He sees we forget ourselves, Christ will take a little state upon Him; will not be saluted with Rabboni, but with some more seemly term. Thomas said, "My Lord and my God." It is no excuse to say all was out of love. Love, if it be right, doth nothing uncomely. And such love Christ loves. A strange kind of love, when, for very love to Christ, we care not how we carry ourselves towards Him. This may be said, she was not before so carried away with sorrow, but she was now as far gone in the other of joy: and so like enough to forget herself, as Peter on the Mount. He knew not what he said, nor she what she did. Out of which our lesson is, that in the sudden surprise of any passion no touching Christ then. Say she were unfit, yet all is not clear. For why then did others touch? Thomas with his faith in his fingers' ends? They touched because they believed not; she touched not because she misbelieved. They touched that they might know He was risen: she touched not that she might know He was not so risen, as in former times she had known Him. If the text be against rudeness, to restrain it; then is it for reverence to enjoin it.-2 Gregory thinks it was to hasten the message, and that all was but to save time. As if He should have said, "There is a matter in hand, would be done out of hand; and therefore for this time hands off." And the reason will follow well so. "You need not be so hasty, I am not yet ascended. You may do this at some other time." To the disciples and to Christ no haste was too much; all delay too long. Yet a touch and away would not have taken up so much time. True, but He easily foresaw if He suffered her to touch that she would have taken hold too, not have let Him go.-3 thinks it was to wean her from all fleshly touching, and teach her a new and true touch. As if, till He were ascended, He would not be touched; and then He would. And there is reason for this sense. For the touch of His body, which she so much desired; that could last but forty days. Christ Himself touched upon this point in John 6:62. It was her error to be all for the corporeal presence; for the touch with the fingers. So were His disciples. From which they were now to be weaned. That if they had before known Christ, or touched Him after the flesh, yet now from henceforth they were to do so no more. Christ resolves the point. The flesh, the touching, the eating, profits nothing. The words He spake were spirit. So the touching, the eating, to be spiritual And Thomas, and Mary, or whosoever touched Him on earth, if they had not been more happy to touch Him with their faith, than with their fingers' end, they had had no good by it at all. It was found better with it, to touch the hem of His garment, than without it, to touch any part of His body. Now, if faith be to touch, that will touch Him no less in heaven than here.

(Bp. Andrewes.)

The Study.
I. WAS MARY DENIED AND THOMAS GRANTED, THE SAME FAVOUR? Then we should see in the case of Thomas a greater condescension to the doubts and fears of the human heart. Mary did not need proof; Thomas did. The clearing away of Thomas' doubts strengthened the evidence of our Lord's resurrection.

II. THERE WAS NO DENIAL OF FAVOUR TO MARY. In her case the arrested act was one of affection, and Jesus may be understood as reminding her that the hour for adoration has not yet come — "For I am not yet ascended." Nothing of that enters into the act of Thomas. His is not an act of worship, but of scrutiny. Mary is checked in worship; Thomas is permitted to touch, to obtain proof that it is indeed the Master.

III. BUT WHY IS MARY'S REVERENCE CHECKED? Because the Master has work for her to do. Our Lord really forbids not, but checks her reverential act; and His purpose is to transfer her attention to her mission. Even if Mary's act were merely one of personal affection, there would be only the more reason why duty should interrupt her demonstrations of regard.

IV. MARY THOUGHT HE WAS COME BACK TO STAY. So He virtually says: Not so; "I ascend." Think of Me no more in the flesh; think of Me on the throne. For, while in one breath the Lord says, "I am not yet ascended," in the next He commands her to tell His brethren, "I ascend unto My Father."

(The Study.)

I. IT WAS A REAL BODY THAT APPEARED TO MARY. "Touch Me not;" then it was possible to touch Him. Wisdom never tells us not to do what cannot be done. The voice she heard was not a dead voice; the form she saw was not a form that trembled in the twilight far within the tomb, but one that stood boldly forth in the clear, cheerful day outside.

II. HERE WAS A GENTLE REPROOF, POINTING TO THE LACK OF SPIRITUALITY IN MARY'S FAITH. To her the supreme object of faith could be touched with fingers. She assumes that He has come back to the old scenes to be what He was before. She is content with this and with His unfinished work. The words of Jesus were to discipline and raise her faith, and to break to her the truth that He is no longer to be revealed under the forms of time, and in the world of sensation, but to the soul. That we may be helped to watch against this and avoid the tendency to make a fetish of Him who has now inaugurated the reign of the Spirit; and truly obey the ancient call of devotion, "Lift up your hearts," let us feel that Christ is still speaking to us, in His words to Mary.

III. ALTHOUGH MARY HAD THIS CHECK, ALL THE DISCIPLES MAY TOUCH HIM, NOW HE IS IN HEAVEN. The word "yet" conveys this inference; and the next words, "You are not to touch Me until I am gone; then you may." "When My earthly manifestation ends, your privilege of touching Me begins." We actually have open to us a better and happier privilege than that which Mary thought the ultimatum of dignity and bliss. This true touch is essential to the true life. All knowledge, all sympathy is from touch; there is no food, no drink, no healing without touch. Sin is cured by the Saviour's touch; and this perpetual contact is the medium through which He sends into us the Divine electricity of power and holiness. Only a few could come in contact with a simple human presence at one time; but all, at one time, can touch that which is ascended for the very purpose that it may "fill all things." You may touch Him in the city, in the field, when going out, when coming in, when no eye can see, in the garret, in the cellar, in the deep mine, in mountain heights, in the turmoil of care, in atmospheres in which, without a miracle, no grace can live; and wherever He is thus touched, the manifold miracle of grace is wrought.

IV. THIS MAY HAVE INCLUDED AN INJUNCTION TO MARY NOT TO DELAY HER ERRAND TO THE DISCIPLES. "Do not linger. I am going, and will soon be gone. Go to My brethren. There is no time now for tender intimacies and protracted intercourse; I have this more important employment for you: you must make haste if you would give them fair notice." So now, Christ is always calling us away from the passive to the active; from personal enjoyment to practical service.

1. "Go." In the history of the new life, Christ's first word is always, "Come"; His next, in some form or other, is always, "Go."

2. "To My brethren."(1) Why was this message not sent first to His mother? Through age after age the nations have called her "Our Lady," yet all through the forty days she is passed by in the narrative like one forgotten. This is an inexplicable blank, unless we understand that, foreknowing the idolatry of Mary, it was thus divinely arranged.(2) Why were not the rejecters of Christ first informed of His resurrection? "Why not go first to the Scribes and Pharisees, &c., and those who complain that they want evidence?" Because of this principle: "Whosoever hath, to him shall be given," &c.; because, "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him," &c.

3. "My brethren." He had never so called them before, yet they never seemed to be so unworthy. He might have said, "Go, tell swearing Peter, dull Philip, doubting Thomas, cautious Nathanael," &c. Had they heard of the Resurrection thus, the news might have almost killed them; and they might have said, "He is risen to smite us." But, as if to prevent this, the despatch is addressed to His "brethren." Grand instance this of the truth that He "is not ashamed to call us brethren." Take fresh heart at the thought of it, and learn that it is not in the power of infirmity to unbrother us.

(C. Stanford, D. D.)

But go tell My brethren.
1. Christ's words were addressed to Mary's thoughts, which was, "Now all is fulfilled. He has returned from the Father; He is going to take us to His kingdom, and we shall be for ever with Him." "Not so," replies our Lord, "I have more work to do, and so have you."

2. There is a remarkable difference between Mary's case and that of Thomas. She believed too much; he too little. Her eager faith is corrected by the "Touch Me not, but go"; his unbelief is removed by "Come, reach hither thy hand." Man would have said to faith, "Touch me"; to unbelief, "Touch me not."

I. CHRIST'S WORK. He has gone —

1. To get the Spirit for us. Now He has received the promise of the Father — "Gifts for men."

2. To intercede for us.

3. To prepare a place for us.

4. To give repentance and forgiveness. Thus He cautions us — "Be calm and patient; I have gone to do My work. It must be done, and then no more delay."

II. OUR WORK. Mary had something else to do than touch and enjoy; so have we — work.

1. For ourselves. "Follow Me," "Take up your cross," "Let your light shine," "Grow in grace."

2. For the Church. We are members one of another to "bear one another's burdens," &c.

3. For the world — to pray for it, preach to it, save it. How long Christ's work will last we know not, but ours will soon be done. Therefore, "Whatsoever thy hand," &c.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

We are taught to think of —

I. THE STRENGTH AND CONSTANCY OF HIS LOW. "My brethren" was applied —

1. To those who had recently acted in a cowardly and cruel manner.

2. To those whose state of mind was most dishonouring to Himself (Mark 16:10-15; Luke 24:11-21).

3. In the most momentous crisis in His history.

4. Without the slightest hint of their unworthy conduct.

II. THE COMPLETION OF HIS EARTHLY WORK — "I ascend." As the farmer leaves the field when it has been cultivated, awaiting the results of his toil in the harvest; as the mariner leaps on shore when the voyage is over; as the warrior returns home when the victory is won; so our Lord turned His attention to heaven immediately on the conclusion of His work on earth, where He had been an exile.

1. In His life He had presented a perfect example of what men should be.

2. In His person and works He had supplied the most advanced revelation of God.

3. In His death He had atoned for the sins of the world, and laid the basis for a universal offer of pardon and eternal life.

4. In His resurrection He had given a pledge that His people should rise and that the last enemy should be destroyed. And now He turns His thoughts homeward.

III. THE POWER AND DOMINION ON WHICH HE HAS ENTERED.

1. His personal rest and honour. "Ascend." What a contrast to His descent (John 17:15).

2. The fulfilment of His promise respecting the Spirit (John 14:25, 26; John 15:26, 27).

3. His prevalent intercession (Hebrews 2:9-11; Hebrews 7:24-28).

4. His unlimited authority and power to promote our interests. "Lo, I am with you alway"; "The Lord stood by me."

5. The certainty of His final recompense in the conquest of the world. "He must reign."

6. His return to receive us unto Himself.

IV. THE ONENESS BETWEEN HIMSELF AND HIS PEOPLE. "My Father," &c. Suggestive of mutual —

1. Relationship.

2. Resemblance.

3. Interests.

4. Possessions.

5. Prospects.

(J. Bowery.)

I. THE PARTIES. "My brethren." Here is nothing that savours of any displeasure of remembering any old grudge, or of pride. The term "brethren" implies —

1. Identity of nature. Then if He rose as man, man also may rise; if the nature be risen, the persons in it may. In the first Adam our nature died, in the Second our nature is risen.

2. Risen with the same love and affection He had before, or if changed changed for the better. Before He said, "My friends." Here, "My brethren."

II. THE COMMISSION. The fathers say that by this word she was by Christ made an apostle. Nay, an apostle to the apostles.

1. An apostle: for what lacks she?

(1)Sent immediately from Christ.

(2)Sent to declare.

(3)Sent to make known Christ's ascending, the very Gospel of the gospel.

2. This day, with Christ's rising, begins the gospel; not before. Crucified, dead and buried, no good news in themselves. Them the Jews believe as well as we. At her hands the apostles themselves received these glad tidings first, and from them we all.

3. Which, as it was a special honour, so was it not without some kind of reproach to them for sitting at home. Christ is fain to seek Him a new apostle.

4. And by this the amends is made her for Noli Me tangere. For to be thus the messenger of so blessed tidings is a more special favour than if she had touched Christ. Christ would never have enjoined her to leave the better to take the worse. So that hence we infer that to go and carry comfort to them that need it, to tell them of Christ's rising that do not know it, is better then to do nothing but touch Christ. Touching Christ gives place to teaching Christ. How well this agrees with her offer in ver. 15: "You that would take and carry Me, being dead, go take and carry Me now alive." It shall be a carrying in a better sense. Stand not here then touching Me; go and touch them, and with the very touch of this report you shall work in them a resurrection from a doleful and dead to a cheerful and lively estate.

III. THE MOTION.

1. "Tell them that I ascend." Why not rather "I am risen" (more proper for this day)? Because He needs not tell her that. She could tell that of herself. And besides, I ascend implies as much. Till He be risen, ascend He cannot. But as she saw by His rising that He had the keys of hell and death, had unlocked those doors and come out from thence, so by ascend He tells her that He hath the keys of heaven's gates also, which He would now unlock, and so set open the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

2. To show us what was the end of His rising. Christ did not rise, to rise; no more must we. Christ rose to ascend; so are we to do. To rise from the bottom of the grave to the brink of it, and stand on the grave-stone, is but half a rising. To rise up as high as heaven, that is to rise indeed; that is Christ's rising, and that to be ours. As there was no gospel till the Resurrection, so the Resurrection is no gospel unless "ascend" follow it. Resurrexit, tell that to all the world — all that die in Adam shall rise in Christ: miscreants, Jews, Turks, and all. No gospel that, properly. Tell the Christian of ascendo, too, the resurrection to life and not to condemnation. Better lie still in our graves, than rise, and rising not to ascend.

3. He saw upon these tidings they would say, "He risen, then shall we have His company again as heretofore." But by sending them word of His ascending He gives them warning that He rose not to make any abode with them. This He knew would be a hard lesson. They were still and ever addicted to His bodily being with them. They would have built Him a tabernacle here. To rid them of this error He shows them thus, that for Him to be here below on earth that is not it; but for them to be with Him there above in heaven that is it. Thither would He raise them and us with this His ascendo.

4. So then seeing Christ stayed not here, we are not to set up our stay here; not to make earth our heaven.

IV. TO MY FATHER. Every motion hath a whence and a whither. To ascend is, to Christ, His natural motion; heaven is His natural place. His work being done. And "to My Father" no less (chap. John 14:28). But to go from them is no good news. It was like "touch Me not" to Mary. What then is their comfort or ours? In this, "To your Father" as well as Mine. And He doth express here the whither by the party to whom, rather than by the place to which, because the party will soon bring us to the place, and to somewhat besides. So we have good right to make His Father ours, and His Father's house ours, that there we may dwell together fratres in unum. There be of the Father's that make these words as so many steps of Jacob's ladder, which we are to ascend by, or so many wheels as it were of Elias's chariot, in which he was carried up to heaven. There lie before us four pairs or combinations by which ascendo is drawn in the text.

1. Father and God, instead of "the Lord God" of the law. Father is a name of much good will, but many a good father wants good means to his good will. God is added that He may not be defective that way.

2. His, ours; and ours His, interchangeably. A blessed change: His great Meum for our little vestrum, little ours for great His. As there is no comfort in heaven without God, nor in God, without a Father, so is there not any either in Father, heaven, or God without ours to give us a property in them.

3. "My Father" will do us no good. That which must do us the good is "your Father," and we need no more (John 14:8). But how should His be ours?

4. This leads us to the last combination, "My God and yours." For that His Father may be our Father, no remedy but our God must first be His.(1) His Father, as God; His God, as Man. As the Son of God, a God He hath not; a Father He hath: as the Son of Man, a Father He hath not; a God He hath.(2) But now, how shall we get His Father to have Him to be our Father? First, His Father He was from all eternity; He only can say properly, patrem meum. But He is content to quit that and to take us in; and He being our Brother before to make us His now. For upon His ascending He adopts us, and by adopting makes us, and by making pronounces us His brethren, and so children to His Father. But, till then, a God we had, but not a Father; at least, not such a Father of Him as since we have. So we see the necessity of both these combinations. But we are not so to look to our own comfort, but that we preserve His honour. There is order taken for that by severing each pair — mine and yours; yet otherwise His and otherwise ours; both as Father and as God. As Father: His by nature, ours by grace. As God: our God by nature. His no otherwise, then as He took upon Him our nature.

(Bp. Andrewes.)

I. TO WHOM IS CHRIST A BROTHER.

1. To the apostles and their associates.

2. To all who do God's will (Matthew 12:46-50).

3. To all who are undergoing sanctification (Hebrews 2:11).

II. HOW DOES HE FEEL TOWARDS HIS BRETHREN?

1. He is not ashamed to own the relationship (Hebrews 2:11).

2. He sympathizes with them and loves them (Hebrews 2:17).

3. He identifies Himself with them (Matthew 25:40).

III. WHAT BENEFITS DO HIS BRETHREN DERIVE FROM HIS RELATIONSHIP?

1. Teaching (Hebrews 2:12).

2. Providential care (Matthew 25:40).

3. Consciousness of His sympathy,

IV. LET US LEARN.

1. To establish this relationship by faith, love, obedience, growth.

2. To appreciate it with the honour, and help it brings.

3. To extend it to others by leading them to salvation.

4. If we are faithful we shall live with our Eider Brother for ever.

(J. T. Whiteley.)

I ascend unto 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. Himself.(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?"

(W. Jay.)

Nothing is more grand, more precious, than the news to be announced to them. "I ascend to My Father," He who is so by nature; "and to their Father," by adoption and grace; "to My God," in covenant with Me as their Head, and "to their God," in covenant with them through Me and under Me. Words which at once show the triumph of Jesus Christ and the triumph of the Christian. Let us illustrate these two ideas.

I. IT WAS THE TRIUMPH OF JESUS CHRIST, AND REMROVED THE SCANDAL OF THE CROSS. "If thou be the Son of God," said the blinded Jews when insulting Him, "come down from the cross." Jesus did more — He came alive from the tomb; and this miracle of Divine power is only the first step of that elevation into which He is entering. "Go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and unto My God and your God." This is, then, the triumph of Christ.

II. IT IS A SOURCE OF THE RICHEST CONSOLATION AND TRUST TO ALL BELIEVERS. "I would wish this text," says the excellent Baxter, "written on my dying bed; I would wish to view it with my closing eyes, that I might exult in the agonies of dissolution." All! Christians, never forget it! And let it also be your rule in all your conduct; your consolation in your trials; your trust in the most disastrous situations.

1. If the Father of Jesus Christ is your Father and your God, always listen with docility to a voice at once so august and tender; follow the glorious example of the "first-born among many brethren."

2. If the Father of Jesus Christ is your Father and your God, submit with an entire resignation to all the dispensations of Providence, as Jesus submitted to them.

3. If the Father of Jesus Christ is your God and Father, then let this tender assurance augment your faith, your love, your detachment from the world.

(H. Kollock, D. D.)

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