John 20:17 Meaning of I Am Ascending to My Father

John 20:17
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Explanation and Commentary of John 20:17

How absolutely beside herself Mary must have been to see Jesus risen from the dead. Her joy is a reflection of her bitter sorrow just a day before. Mary shows us an apt picture of worship we can compare to when we ourselves engage in worship of Jesus, a real person who receives our worship as he sits at the right hand of the Father (Ro 8:34).

Apparently, the time for holding on to Jesus permanently was still to come after Christ ascended to the Father. All of Jesus’ followers seemed to miss the point whenever Jesus would speak of his impending death and resurrection. If polled, each would have likely said that if they could go back to having Jesus with them in the bodily form again, as they had before, they would.

But that was not the plan. Jesus routinely warned them not to spread the news that he was the Messiah until after he had died and risen and gone into heaven. From there he would pour out his Holy Spirit and be with them to the “very end of the age” (Mat 28:16-18). But now is the time to cling to Christ. He has empowered us to do so by his Holy Spirit. He has commanded us to remain in him (Jn 15:1) and taught us that remaining in him is the way to bear much fruit.

Breaking down the Key Parts of John 20:17

#1 “Jesus said, ‘Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.”
Whatever is your conjecture about why Jesus said this, some things are plain. Now was not the time for clinging to Jesus. He had a job for her to do, and he wasn’t to be held onto until after he finished what he was doing on earth and had taken his place with the Father in heaven.

#2 “Go instead to my brothers and tell them.”
This was the time for evangelism. Mary had the profound privilege of being the first to see the Lord and to be sent by him to witness to the resurrection. Jesus was extraordinarily progressive in this way and in his treatment of women, giving them an unparalleled dignity in their culture. Women can and should spread the Word of God to whoever will listen. This is unfortunately confused with the issue of the calling to elder and possibly deacon roles in the church. While Jesus had no fear of going against cultural norms regarding gender roles, he has reserved these roles for men only (1 Tim 3:1-8).

Bible Study on John 20:17

Expert Overview of John Ch. 13-21

Biblical Translations of John 20:17

NIV
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

NLT
“Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

ESV
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.’”

KJV
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.'”

NKJV
Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”

John 20:17 Meaning and Commentary

Author Bio
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.