Why was Thomas allowed to touch the risen Jesus, but Mary Magdalen was not?

Full Question

When Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene on Easter morning, he cautions her that she should not touch him because he has not yet gone to the Father. Yet the following week in the upper room, he invites Thomas to put his hands into the wounds. Why the difference? Why was Thomas allowed to touch the risen Jesus, but Mary Magdalen was not?


Haydock’s Catholic Family Bible and Commentary interpret the first passage (Jn 20:17) this way: I will not leave you again; be not in a hurry to touch me; you shall all have this pleasure. I will remain with you sometime, before my Ascension. Announce my Resurrection to my apostles. You shall see me again. This is the interpretation most modern commentators put upon this place. Others suppose that Magdalene imagined he was risen from the dead to live with men as before, like Lazarus. He addresses these words to her to disabuse her of this notion.

Thomas, on the other hand, apparently feared to go to Jesus, so Jesus was offering proof that he was alive and not a ghost or figment of Thomas’s imagination. He was saying, “Thomas, prove to yourself that I really am hereby touching your hands to the wounds I sustained on the cross” (cf. Jn 20:24-29). In other words, Jesus was responding individually to different expressions of doubt.

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Raphael Benedict

Raphael Benedict is a Catholic who wants nothing but to spread the catholic faith to reach the ends of the world. Make this possible by always sharing any article or prayers posted on your social media platforms. Remain blessed

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  1. Everyone is way over thinking this. Jesus is God. He doesn’t follow rules– he MAKES them!!! If he wants Thomas to touch him, but not Mary, he doesn’t NEED a reason. Trying to come up with a reason is undermining Jesus’ divinity!!!

  2. The scripture says, “…Do not “cling” to Me…”Unless it translates “to touch” she was not forbidden to touch Jesus. He allowed Thomas to touch Him because Thomas was the only one not there at Jesus’ first visitation and, as far as we know, the only one who doubted, even saying, “unless l touch His hand and put my hand in His side, l will not believe.” John 20:25-29

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