Live in the Hope that Christ has Ascended

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John 20:11-18

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.


  • Mary has come to the tomb of Jesus and found it empty.
  • She looks in and sees two angels who ask her why she is crying.
  • Why angels? To confirm the reality that Jesus was and is God and that he had been resurrected.
  • Mary is distraught because she doesn’t know where Jesus’ body is.
  • She turns around and sees Jesus but thinks he is a gardener.
  • He says May’s name and she realizes that it is Jesus.
  • She hugs him, but he tells her not to because he has not ascended (gone to heaven) yet.
  • He tells her to go to the other disciples (whom he now calls brothers) and to tell them that he is ascending to their Father and their God.
  • Jesus is now talking about the disciples as if they are apart of his family because of his death, burial, and resurrection.


The death of Jesus had just taken place in John 19 and now in John 20 it is 3 days later. Three days are important because the Jews believed that if someone came back to life before 3 days that they were not really dead. But Jesus coming back to life three days later was a sign that he was really dead and that he overcame sin and death when he was resurrected. Peter and John had also seen the empty tomb but by this time they had already left. So Jesus’ encounters Mary and reveals himself to her as the first confirmation of his resurrection and the reality that he is getting ready to go back to God.


These verses point us right to the heart of Jesus’ mission.  Mary is weeping, alone, and is feeling lost and Jesus meets her in her weakness and reminds her of who he is and what he came to do. When he says her name she realizes that it is Jesus standing right in front of her and he lets her know that she and the other disciples are one with him and are apart of his family. That is why he says “go to my brothers.” His death and resurrection broke down the dividing wall of hostility between God and man and between men themselves (Eph. 2:14-16). We are now part of Christ’s body and family (2 Cor. 12:27) and his Father is our Father and his God is our God (V. 17). Jesus takes our sin and shame, washes us clean, and makes us apart of his family, the family of God.


The main point of these verses is Jesus not only confirming his resurrection, but also letting Mary and the disciples know that they shouldn’t be weeping or afraid, because his Father and God is their Father and God, and he is ascending or going to him.  And he is going to God to prepare a place for them (John 14:2-3).


The call of this passage is to not lose heart. so often we are weighed down by the shame and guilt associated with our sin or we are burdened, angry, and sad about our circumstances. However, the truth is that we have a God who died on our behalf and came back to life three days later so that we would live in the hope that we have a home, and a life that is far greater and far beyond any joy that we could ever imagine. So the call of this passage is to take our eyes off of our present circumstances and instead focus them on Jesus, who has gone to heaven to prepare a place for us. This will and should cause us to live with hope, peace, and joy as we seek to live a life worthy of the calling of Christ. And lastly, this truth should be a driving force in our life that cause us to want to share this hope and life with others that they would also have life, life to the full (Jn. 10:10).

Reflection Questions:

  1. Do you often find yourself weeping like Mary or do you live as someone who has an eternal home and hope?
  2. How would your life look differently if you lived everyday believing that your Heavenly Father and God was with you and working for your eternal good?
  3. What might need to change in your life for question 2 to become a reality?

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