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Do Not Hold On To Me (Rabel)

(Back) The Last Statements of Jesus The Walk to Emmaus (Next)

This is a series of lectures given by Mr. Edward Rabel, member of the faculty of S.M.R.S.
Winter semester 1976 - 2nd. Yr. Class. Lecture given on June 15, 1976

John 20:17, pp. 318-319 of transcript.

20:11But Mary was standing without at the tomb weeping: so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; 20:12and she beholdeth two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 20:13And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. 20:14When she had thus said, she turned herself back, and beholdeth Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. 20:15Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou hast borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 20:16Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turneth herself, and saith unto him in Hebrew, Rabboni; which is to say, Teacher. 20:17Jesus saith to 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. 20:18Mary Magdalene cometh and telleth the disciples, I have seen the Lord; and that he had said these things unto her.

We are not going to go into all the details concerning the post-resurrection of Jesus and the final ascension, but there are some points I want to touch on. The first one has to do with the incident that we covered in the last lesson, His final words to Mary, "Touch me not for I am not yet ascended unto the Father but go to my brethern and say to them ....”

Many students are curious about why He said this to Mary, "touch me not for I am not yet ascended." Mary Magdalene is a very interesting character symbol in the Gospels. She is never really clearly defined as a character, as a person. She is mentioned, and she is around a lot, and she is involved a lot, but she never emerges as a clear-cut, definite person. You know nothing about her. All kinds of rumors surround her. She was a this, she was a that, but sometimes she also was a this and sometimes she was a that. Do you feel I am wrong on this? She is not like Mary. You know very well who the mother of Jesus was, what she was like and what she symbolizes, while Mary Magdalene is somewhat of a mystery. So, very appropriately, Mary Magdalene symbolizes something very ambiguous about us, about human nature. She is good, and yet her reputation is a bit tarnished. She means well, but she does not always act wisely. She looked for Jesus in the tomb. She is always listening, but she seldom gets the message; so it is pretty clear what she stands for and why Jesus would direct these words, not so much to her as a person, but to her as what she has been consistently the symbol of.

Jesus could read this: clinging sentimentality, emotionalism. This ingredient is a mysterious factor in human nature at this stage of our evolution. Sometimes it appears as a very desirable and attractive characteristic, but at other times, it can foul things up. This symbolism sometimes is a friend and follower of Jesus. Sometimes it is an ex-whore. This sentimentality and emotionalism in our human nature, which is sort of a clinging thing, passion-thing, can also be amiss, can also lead to complications that are not necessary or appropriate in certain given situations. Yet, at other times, if this ingredient is missing from a person's expression, there is that much less appeal or attractiveness in a person.

Remember when you were giving Bible interpretations verbally and how I was not too happy with many of them. Almost always it was for the same reason: Mary Magdalene was missing. I was getting outlined technology. When Mary Magdalene seeks to attach itself to the soul which is in the process of resurrection, it would retard. If Jesus had allowed Mary Magdalene to touch Him, metaphysically, it would mean that at this stage of a person's on-going or evolution, that nothing must be permitted to hold back, to cling, to touch in a sense that would keep back. He did not mean that Mary Magdalene was never to touch Him again, but at that particular moment He did not want to be touched by her.

So it will be with you, folks, all of us. In our lives and careers there will be times and situations when it will be inappropriate for us to allow emotionalism or sentimentality to touch us and hold us back. There are times when we must keep free of that in order to get something accomplished. Then, when it is accomplished, okay. Touch away, have a look. There will always be a proper method of expressing our sentimentality and our emotion.

You recall, I think two classes ago, I said one of the most wonderful things I keep rediscovering about Jesus is that He had this streak of sentimentality. He had this streak of emotions toward people and toward things. He did not wipe it out. He kept it there, but at this particular stage, He did not want it interfered with, so that would be the symbolism of Mary Magdalene.

Text of the original transcript at the 5th paragraph of p.318 through the 2nd paragraph of p.319.
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on 04-16-2014