John 20:17 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.’”
There is a lot more to this than it would appear on the surface.
Muslims would argue that Jesus is just a messenger [Prophet] and He did not really die on the cross. But that He only swooned and spent the time in the grave healing, or that it was someone else like Judas that somehow the crowd was made to believe was Jesus. They say that because He said My God it means He is not God Himself. But that ignores the trinity. Which is a separate issue. One man keeps insisting that somehow the remark Jesus made about Jonah being in the belly of the fish for 3 days proves He did not really die. Although the real similarity is that it was a 3 day period for each is the only significance.
The Lord not really dieing makes a kind of sense if you refuse to accept that the Lord was sacrificed for the sins of the world and that His sacrifice was the only acceptable payment. I am going to look at the passage above and show why it puts to sleep the notion that He did not really die.
In Biblical times when the blood sacrifices were being done by the priests of Israel, they did different kinds. from daily to once a year by the High Priest as an atonement for all of Israel. But on that one special day the High Priest was allowed to go into the Holy of Holies. They would tie a rope around one ankle with a bell attached. If the High Priest displeased God, he could be killed. They would know because the bell would stop making noise. Then the other priests would pull his body out by the rope. Because only the High Priest was allowed in the Holy of Holies. This does not mean that God would kill someone for no reason, the High Priest would have had to do something very seriously wrong.
The High Priest would bring in the special sacrifice and present it to God. The other part of this is that if it had been touched it would not be presentable to God because it would be defiled. And they would have to do another sacrifice. If Jesus’ blood had not been shed then it means the whole argument is over. But the fact that there were many witnesses to His death and over 500 to His resurrection, that argument is without merit.
Well here’s where the verse above comes in. Jesus was the Lamb of God, He became the final and ultimate sacrifice for the sins of mankind. When Mary came upon Him she naturally wanted to touch Him and be comforted. But Jesus said I have not yet ascended to My Father which means He had not yet presented the blood sacrifice in the true Holy of Holies.
This shows two things. First Jesus had to have actually died and also when He said it is finished, that was the end to all arguments and all sacrifices.
The other thing not covered is the part where He is called high priest in the order of Melchizedek. Melchizedek King of Salem.There is a Salem near Scythopolis in the tribe of Ephraim, near to which John baptized (John 3:23, where it is called Salim), and Jerome mentions that some local ruins there were said to be the remains of Melchizedek’s palace. The typical value of Melehizedek’s priesthood lies not merely in his being “king of righteousness and king of peace,” but even more in his priesthood being universal, limited by no external ordinances, and attached to no particular race or people. Moreover, he is a king-priest (Psalms 110), and by taking precedence of Abram. and blessing him, and receiving from him tithes, he became the representative of a higher priesthood more than any that could spring from Abram’s loins. Jesus was not a descendant of Aaron, and thus would not qualify for the Jewish priesthood under the Law of Moses. His priesthood is so much higher. Hebrews chapter 5, and then again at the end of chapter 6, telling us that Jesus “has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
This does not take away from the fact that Jesus is also God. John was very clear that Jesus is also called the “Word of God” John 1:1-3. The phrase, “Word of God,” is used for both the Bible and the person of Jesus the Christ.
God Bless, Dan Beliveau