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Woodstock Baptist Church

Letting go…

Jesus said to her “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
John 20.17

“Let it go” was the hit song from Disney’s animation “Frozen” a song about empowerment through liberated thought & action.

It’s good advice, easier to give to others than apply to ourselves maybe but all part of growing into the fullness of life.

Mary of Magdala, whom Jesus addresses here, knew something of letting go. Jesus had driven seven demons from her thereby transforming a tormented past into a brighter future. A future seemingly snatched by the cruel events of Good Friday, until wonderfully, Easter Sunday morning dawned dispersing confusion and tears of grief, infusing joy and wonder into her life as she meets her Jesus and shares the news with his followers becoming known as the “apostle to the apostles”.

For this to happen Mary had to learn to let go – of Jesus.

Mary “Do not hold onto me…”

Letting go of precious things is very hard, harder still when they’ve been lost to you and then rediscovered. Yet the tighter we cling to them for fear of a second loss the more inhibited becomes the future.

To gain a richer, deeper, vaster comprehension of the Lord Jesus Mary needed to let go of her rabbi Jesus, I suspect this is the same for many of us. We can all hang onto our comfortable conceptions of who we think Jesus is and thereby fail to allow him truly to become our Lord.

Perhaps for you he is merely a good teacher, a prophet, a moral man, a prophet, a demiurge, a fiction, a fallacy or maybe gentle Jesus meek and mild –still in the Christmas crib. For the Bible the story of Jesus takes him from the crib to the cross, through death to bodily resurrection from the tomb to ascended Lord, the returning Judge of humanity, the Lord of history – a friend of sinners, giver of life co-equal with the Father.

That’s quite a lot to grasp; comprehension requires relinquishment of that which we thought we know of Jesus, opening ourselves to the reality of the resurrection.

It is interesting that the news Mary carried to the apostles wasn’t simply that “Jesus is alive” but Jesus is returning to his Father God who is to be known as their Father God as well.

The new reality that Mary carried is that we can be adopted into the family of God, thisis the good newsof Easter; the future invading the present altering our past. Before we were orphans lost and abandoned in our sin, now we are given the right to become children of God through saving faith in Jesus.

You might think Jesus is lost to you, entombed in some pigeon hole beyond reach. The truth is nothing can hold Jesus, neither death, nor earth, nor Mary’s grasp. He is very close to all who would seek him and see, even through a veil of tears and confusion, that Jesus is alive.

Such knowledge brings liberty and responsibility, we don’t cling to the past but open ourselves up to the future lived in obedience to Jesus and so begin a rich adventure of obedient faith.

Disney encourages those who would be free to let “It” go. How free are you today? What is “it” that prevents you encountering the living Lord Jesus today for the first time or in a richer deeper way? What steps might you take to let “it” go?

A prayer:

Lord I would know you today
Help me be free of those things that blind me to your presence
Enable me to perceive you even through my doubts and tears
And so release within me a life of love for you, others and myself
That in all things you may take delight
Amen

Nick