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I was reading answers to a question about Thomas touching Jesus. An answer came from an Orthodox person which said that Thomas was granted special permission to touch his body/wound. That person further said that it was why Jesus warned Mary Magdalene not to touch him. I would like to ask the orthodox person (or any Orthodox expert) who said touching Jesus was dangerous, and that Thomas was granted an exception. My question is: Is this also your position (Jesus granting exceptions) when the two women (Lazarus' sister and a prostitute) touched his feet while putting oil on them?

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I would add to your question the references to people touching Jesus in the following scriptures: Mark 14:46, Matthew 26:67, Mark 6:56, Mark 3:10; and Luke 8:45-47. –  stacylaray Apr 26 at 5:59
@stacylaray I wouldn't say those are great examples. The OP is asking whether Orthodoxers say it's dangerous to touch Jesus, and your examples are ones of Jesus touching others or people touching him violently (like the crucifixion or to arrest him). Plus the one of the woman touching his garment. –  LCIII Jul 16 at 15:29
If touching Jesus was dangerous, then how could they grab Him and arrest Him? Pouring perfume on His head is violent? And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole. –  stacylaray Jul 16 at 23:29
And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? Peter was incredulous. How could Jesus ask "Who touched me?" when there were lots of people touching him, pressed against him, in the crowd. It was not dangerous to touch Jesus. That is my point. –  stacylaray Jul 16 at 23:37

3 Answers 3

The person may have been 'Orthodox' but their doctrine was not orthodox as it denies the clear sense of:

36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” - Luke 24:36-39 ESV (emphasis added)

In order to harmonise the sense of John 20:17 with John 20:24, Luke 24:39 it is commonly theorised that there were (at least) two ascensions - one immediately subsequent to Mary's encounter and another 40 days later detailed in Luke 24:51 & Acts 1:9.

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There's no scriptural support to say that only Thomas and/or certain others had some special permission to touch Jesus. However there are some great examples of people reaching out and touching with no "dangerous" outcomes:

A great example is how Jesus subtly rebukes Simon (Peter) for not greeting him with a kiss when he entered his house:

Luke 7:44-47 ESV Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

Regarding the "don't touch me" moment with Mary, Orthodox teaching takes it a different way:

John 20:17 ESV Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

[notice the link in the book/chapter reference]

Mary was so excited to see Jesus her immediate reaction was to hug him--and who could blame her! Notice how Jesus gives a reason why Mary shouldn't cling to him: "for I have not yet ascended to the Father." Orthodox teaching would say that Jesus was basically calming her down and telling her she doesn't need to hold so much because he's not going anywhere. And that she should go soon and tell her brothers. Mary probably held to Jesus and thought to herself "I'm never letting go!" Jesus was merely calming her down and telling her there's still work to be done.

The incident with Thomas seems more obvious because Jesus straight up told him to touch his hands and side:

John 20:26-29 ESV Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

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Minor point, but the Simon in the Luke 7 passage you've quoted is actually not Simon Peter, but 'one of the Pharisees' (cf. v36-37 & 39-40). Also you seem to be using 'Orthodox' when you're meaning 'orthodox' - does your meaning actually correspond the OPs? Finally, I'm at a little bit of a loss - what's the link we're supposed to be noticing? –  bruised reed Jul 21 at 7:55

I have no references to these beliefs, other than I was raised Orthodox. I was taught that lots of people touched Jesus before the crucifixion. It is after that He did not allow people to touch him,

"Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father." (John 20:17)

The reason Thomas was allowed to touch Him is because Thomas was always the most doubtful of all the apostles. Even after all the other apostles saw Jesus and believed, and told Thomas,

he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:24)

Therefore, Christ let Thomas touch Him so Thomas would believe.

"Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” (John 20:27)

Also, if no-one had touched Him, the heretics would claim that He was not real (therefore someone had to touch Him, and who better than Thomas, who had a hard believing by sight).

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