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John 20:17:

Jesus said, "Do not touch 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.'"

Why did Jesus not want Mary to touch him, remembering that he allowed Thomas to touch him before he went to heaven?

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More-modern translations have either "do not hold on to me" or "do not cling to me" or variants thereof. Hence, this is a different kind of "touch" than when Thomas (almost) touched Jesus. It's still a good question though. –  El'endia Starman Jan 23 '13 at 12:21
    
Both of these pages have great commentary about that occasion. –  Matt Jan 23 '13 at 14:18

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

The reason Jesus said this has been the subject of debate. One common belief is that He didn't want her to tarry there, that it was more of a "now is not the time" statemen. Example:

Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Touch me not - Μη μου ἁπτου, Cling not to me. Ἁπτομαι has this sense in Job 31:7, where the Septuagint use it for the Hebrew דבק dabak, which signifies to cleave, cling, stick, or be glued to. From Matthew 28:9, it appears that some of the women held him by the feet and worshipped him. This probably Mary did; and our Lord seems to have spoken to her to this effect: "Spend no longer time with me now: I am not going immediately to heaven - you will have several opportunities of seeing me again: but go and tell my disciples, that I am, by and by, to ascend to my Father and God, who is your Father and God also. Therefore, let them take courage."

Another view:

Vincent's Word Studies

Touch me not (μή μοῦ ἅπτου)

The verb, primarily, means to fasten to. Hence it implies here, not a mere momentary touch, but a clinging to. Mary thought that the old relations between her Lord and herself were to be renewed; that the old intercourse, by means of sight, sound, and touch, would go on as before. Christ says, "the time for this kind of intercourse is over. Henceforth your communion with me will be by faith through the Spirit. This communion will become possible through my ascending to the Father."

And another, similar to the others, but emphasizing "There are other things to do right now".

People's New Testament

20:17 Touch me not. She was probably about to clasp his feet. She is told to discharge a higher duty: to go to the brethren with the glad story.

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