The Resurrection Events

Why did Jesus tell Mary not to touch him since he had not ascended to his Father? When did he ascend? Did not he invite Thomas to thrust his hand in his side? I guess I'm looking for the chronological order. Also when did Jesus present the blood to the father? Was it the literal blood that came from his body on the cross?

The problem to which you refer can easily be seen in the following two passages:

John 20:16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. 17 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.
Matthew 28:9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

Both passages refer to the time immediately after the resurrection of Christ. In the first passage (John 20:16-17), Jesus told Mary not to touch Him because He had not yet ascended to His Father. In the second passage (Matthew 28:9), Jesus met several of the women in the way and they worshipped Him and held Him by the feet. In other words, they definitely touched Him.

The problem arises not only in the two opposite actions that Jesus allowed but also in the proximity of the time of the two events. A careful analysis of the chronology of that first day after the resurrection puts the two events named in the passages above very close in time. I would guess that they are 30 minutes to an hour apart. There is very little time between them.

As a rule, the commentators are not much help here. They end up making the command of Christ to Mary to be symbolic or a warning against her personal familiarity with Him. Then they have to try and fit this into the reason He gives--that He has not yet ascended to the Father. The best approach is to take the teaching of scripture at face value. He did not want Mary to touch Him because He had not yet ascended to the Father and there was some reason He needed to go to the Father before He was touched by human hands. However, when the women met Him perhaps a short hour later, He allowed them to touch Him because by then He had already ascended to the Father, taken care of the item that prohibited human touch, and had returned to earth.

First, consider the possibility of this trip. How long would it take a glorified Jesus to make the trip to heaven or back? Well, as God, He needed no time to ascend to heaven or to come back. His floating into heaven until the clouds hid Him (Acts 1:9) was for the sake of the disciples, so they would have no doubt that He ascended. Certainly, He did not continue all the way to heaven at the same rate.

Second, consider the purpose of this trip. I believe Jesus went to offer His blood in the heavenly temple in order to complete the fulfillment of the Old Testament types. For one thing, we know that there is a temple in heaven. Revelation speaks of the temple of God that is in heaven (Revelation 11:19; 14:17; 15:5-8; 16:17). But Hebrews also tells us that Jesus took His own blood and offered it in the Holy Place that is located in the heavenly temple. Read the following passages carefully:

Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
Hebrews 9:23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

According to these verses, Jesus went into the perfect tabernacle not made with hands which is in heaven itself. There He entered into the holy places of that temple, not with the blood of animals, but with "his own blood." And, in doing so, He "obtained eternal redemption for us" (Hebrews 9:12).

The fact of what Jesus did is unmistakable. However, these verses do not tell us when He did it. I believe He went there between His appearance to Mary and His appearance to the women. It would not take long to do this.  He would certainly be ready to do this soon after His resurrection from the grave. However, this also explains His command to Mary: "Touch me not." The reason He gives for this command is that He had not yet ascended to the Father. But why could He be touched after He had gone to heaven? The answer comes in understanding the work of the Old Testament priests.

Through Moses, the Lord told Aaron "that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not" (Leviticus 16:2). Then, on the Day of Atonement, the one day he was allowed to enter the holy place, he was to "make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself" (Leviticus 16:11). That is, He must enter the holy place as a holy priest.

Now, this was not difficult for Jesus, since He was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens" (Hebrews 7:26). However, the problem of inner holiness was one thing, but there was also the problem of defilement from an exterior source. Haggai asked the priests of his day a question: "If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean" (Haggai 2:13). That is, a priest could be ceremonially or internally holy in every other way, but could still be made unclean and unfit to make a sacrifice by simple contact with something that was unclean like a dead body.

Mary, being still in the flesh, was that dead body so to speak. She could not touch the Lord Jesus Christ because she would have defiled Him as He was preparing to enter the heavenly temple with His own blood to obtain eternal redemption for us. She saw Him first after His resurrection but she had to wait to touch Him because His blood had not yet been applied to the mercy seat in heaven. Praise the Lord for His goodness!

Finally, you ask if the blood was the literal blood that came from His body on the cross. Evidently, it was, though I would not speculate as to how He came to have that blood in His possession. The Bible clearly states that it was "his own blood" that He offered in the heavenly temple. We can also see in Acts 20:28 that this blood is indeed the blood of God ("to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood"). This blood was divine blood and did not have the corruptible quality of human blood. We were not redeemed with "corruptible things" but "with the precious blood of Christ" (1 Peter 1:18-19). I cannot explain how all of this works, but I believe it because of the plain teaching of the Bible on this matter. And, I count the fact of this offering in heaven a great blessing.

David Reagan
Daily Proverb

Proverbs 20:30

The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.