These are rather strange words for Jesus to speak. I wonder what He meant by them. I think the answer lies in understanding the reason for His ascension into heaven. We believe that Jesus ascended into heaven in order that, with the Father, He would send us the Holy Spirit. It is this promised gift of the Holy Spirit that will signify the real completion of Jesus’ earthly mission. It is only with the Holy Spirit that wee have the power to sustain our Christian lives in the face of a hostile world.
Jesus does not want the women to get used to the idea that He is going to be with them in this resurrected form for too much longer. Jesus is aware that He will depart in a few days’ time. The clinging of the women is symbolic of the way in which we can cling to comforting things in an unhealthy way such that it stunts our growth as Christians. The nature of the Christian life is that God wants us to be always moving forward. He is not interested in us becoming comfortable in one way or another with our present faith experiences as He knows there is always so much more for us to receive from Him. The depth of God’s love and grace for us is unending and so we should always be seeking more of God in our lives.
Clinging is usually symptomatic of the desire to remain static and not to accept the challenge of letting go in faith and trusting that we will be able to make the next few steps of the adventure of life. Jesus experienced this in the Garden of Gethsemane when He cried out to His Father but ultimately let go and entrusted His life into the Father’s hands. It is this sort of ‘letting go’ that is essential to the life of faith if we are going to move into the realm of faith that is exhibited by the saints! Do you want to be a saint? I hope to become one eventually, but I know I will have to get better at letting go of the controls in my life and trusting that God will lead me to the right and best place for me.
Jesus calls us to surrender our lives more deeply to Him each day so that He can manifest His love for others through our lives. Are we willing to allow Him to do this?
Jesus, help me to become more like you in the surrender of your life to the will of your Father. Help me to trust that you really do have my best interests at heart.