Answering Questions of Apparent Paradox

John 20:17 says…..
“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.”

I have always wondered why The Lord seems to reject Mary at this point when she is overcome with joy but encourages Thomas to touch Him to find the proof Thomas sought. This, at first glance appears to be a paradox or perhaps, a contradiction, maybe even somewhat discriminating. I found this great explanation from John Flavel (1627-1691).

“In which words we have Christ’s inhibition, “Touch me not:” Strange that Christ, who rendered himself so kind and tender to all, that not only admitted, but commanded Thomas to put his finger into his wounds, should forbid Mary to touch him; but this was not for want of love to Mary; for he gives another reason for it presently, “I am not yet ascended;” i.e. say some, the time for embracing will be when we are in heaven. Then and there shall be the place and time, we shall embrace one another for evermore. So Augustin. Or, thou dotest too much upon my present state, as if I had now attained the very….culminating point of my exaltation. When as yet I am not ascended; so Cameron and Calvin expound it. Or lastly, Christ would signify hereby that it was not his will and pleasure in so great a juncture of things as this, to spend time now in expressing (this way) her affections to him; but rather to shew it by hastening about his service.”

-John Flavel, Works of; Volume 1, page 502

What do you think of Flavel’s reasoning here? Do you agree, disagree, have any other thoughts or explanation?

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