20:11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
She, supposing Him to be the gardener, 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, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).
17 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.’”
Several years ago a book was written and then a movie made based off the book. In them it was essentially stated that Jesus never died but in fact went into hiding with Mary and they had children together creating a "holy line" of children. Fascinating I suppose if you don't really think about it. If Jesus didn't die then He was a liar and a fraud and therefore anything He did could not be considered "holy". The Bible tells a very consistent Story from Genesis to Revelation about a Lamb that dies to rescue humanity from the death sentence of sin.
Would Mary call Jesus "Teacher" if they were lovers? Would Jesus ask her not to cling to Him if they were lovers?
However that's only a minor side issue that most people never believed anyway. Let's put our thinking caps on and discover some amazing truths that many people don't know about. Jesus asks Mary not to cling to Him because He is going to ascend to God. What does He mean by that and more importantly where has He been since Friday when He cried "It is finished" and died?
Most of Christianity teaches when people die they immediately go to heaven. Clearly Jesus didn't because He tells Mary that He is "going up" to His Father. We know that Jesus' entire life had a pattern. Every morning while it was still dark Jesus "went up" to spend time with His Father. Sometimes it was on a mountainside. Sometimes it was in a garden. The consistent part was that He began every new day by spending alone time with God. Now that He has risen from the dead that has not changed. He is on His way to spend that precious vital time with His Father. What is incredibly amazing is that He delayed His going to stop and reveal to Mary what she has been blind to. He is alive!
Now think about it. If Jesus went to heaven as soon as He died on Friday and spent the whole time there until being resurrected would He need to make time with His Father His first priority after coming out of the tomb? Not very logical.
Many will say "But wait! Jesus became sin for us. He died the death of the wicked. He was paying the ultimate penalty for sin which is separation from God. He would not have gone to heaven under such circumstances, He would rather have gone to hell."
Good point. Jesus did die for sin. He became sin. That's why we're told He also cried out on the cross "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?!" He was separated from His Father. That's why the whole land became dark in the he middle of the day. The Light turned away and the Light of this world became our darkness.
That being the case Jesus must have immediately gone to hell when He died because the prevailing belief is that as soon as we die we either go up or down. We either enter the pearly gates of heaven or descend into the ever burning abyss of hell.
But do we? Is that where Jesus went?
Think about this: If the penalty for rejecting God and choosing evil and rebellion is burning forever in hell than Jesus would have had to suffer that reality in order to save us. The Bible is clear that He took our place. The Bible is clear that the whole purpose of the Lamb is to take away the penalty of sin so that all humans from Adam and Eve on down can choose life. He bought us back from the clutches of Satan by taking our sins and punishment upon Himself.
So think about it: if the punishment is eternity burning in hell then Jesus would have to have spent eternity burning in hell. He would have to be there now and tomorrow and every day thereafter.
Either He paid or He did not.
Truth matters because as soon as we get one part of the Story wrong it affects other parts of the Story until pretty soon there is no Story and people walk away believing it is all nonsense.
I'm just asking you to think about it...
See you tomorrow.