Mary thought the Lord was a gardener (v.14) because the Lord’s tomb was in a garden (Jo.19:41,42) and who else would be at the tomb at dawn (v.1)? But why wouldn’t she recognize the One who cast seven devils out of her? It was because the Lord had the power to change into “another form” (Mark 16:9-12), and if we’ll be able to also (Phil.3:20,21), perhaps this is how we’ll be recognizable to loved ones who only knew us at a young age, etc.
Notice Mary “turned herself back” (v.14) from the angels she was talking to. Would you turn away from an angel? You would if you sought the Lord like Mary did—and you should (Ps.73:25)! But the Jews had to seek Him to be saved (Ps.69:32; Am.5:4,6) and they will again in the Trib-ulation (Deut.4:29-31). Mary is a type of these Jews. Their faith will be rewarded (Jer.29:13; Mt.7:7; Heb.11:6), as was Mary’s, when she turned to the Lord and found Him
When Mary turned from angels to the Lord, she typified Hebrews 1:4, where the writer is basically saying the Lord was better than “the word spoken by angels” (Heb.2:2), the Law (Gal.3:19). Who doesn’t know that? The Jews in the Lord’s day, who were clinging to the Law (John 9:28) as God was trying to introduce the new words of Christ (Heb.1:1,2), just like men today are clinging to the words Christ spoke on earth to the Jews when God is trying to introduce the words of Christ through Paul to us Gentiles. Mary illustrates what Israel should have done, and what men today should do, turn to God’s newest revelation.
Notice Mary turned again to the Lord (John 20:16), as Israel will have to in the Tribulation (Ps.80:3,7,19; 85:4). God will chasten Israel to get her to turn to Him (Jer.31:18,19), prompting the Jews to pray the prayer of Lamentations 5:21,22. That’s what the apostles prayed for in Acts 1:6, the restoration of David’s kingdom.
The Lord told Mary not to touch her (John 20:17) “for” He hadn’t yet ascended into heaven. He knew she planned to do more than touch Him, she planned to hold Him as if she’d never let Him go, and He had to ascend to the Father! She’s a type of what Israel should have done, held Him after the resurrection and not let go! We see this illustrated in Song of Solomon 3:1-4, where the bride ignored the watchman (cf. “watchers,” Dan.4:17) as Mary ignored the angels, and found her husband and wouldn’t let go till she married him, a type of what Israel, Christ’s bride, should have done, held Christ till the marriage of the Lamb.
But the Lord tells Mary to tell the disciples He must ascend to the Father first. Why not tell her to tell them He’d risen? Because if they came looking for Him, He may have ascended and they’d think she was lying or deluded! But why worry about that if He didn’t plan to ascend for forty days (Acts 1:1-9)? He was talking about another ascension. Old Testament saints went to Paradise when they died (Lu.23:43) down in the heart of the earth (Mt.12: 40), but Paul was caught “up” to Paradise (IICor.12:4), so we know the Lord took those saints to heaven after He rose. That explains why He later let men touch Him (Mt.28:9).
The “brethren” He told her to go tell weren’t Mary’s kids (John 7:5), they were His spiritual brethren (Mt.12:50). This is the first time He calls them brethren. Now that He has died for them, He is “not ashamed” to call them brethren (Heb.2:10,11). That’s why the Lord could talk to them about His Father and theirs, for if you are brethren you have the same father.
But notice the Lord also talked about His God and theirs. That’s because His death inaugurated the New Covenant (Heb.8:10), and that’s why God was “not ashamed” to be called their God (Heb.11:16). And since we are involved in the New Covenant, He is not ashamed to be called our God
Notice the Lord didn’t tell Mary to tell His brethren, “Re-member how you forsook Me and fled when the going got tough? Well, I’m back, and it is time for your punishment.” He’d already forgiven them and was ready to get on with His work. Anything you can learn from that if you’ve forsaken the Lord when the going got tough? He’s already forgiven you, and just wants you to get on with His work!