One text that remains an enigma to most Christ-followers is the post-resurrection story in the twentieth chapter of John’s gospel where Jesus cautions Mary to avoid touching him, but a week later invites Thomas to do just that.
Firstly let us read John chapter 20
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her,“Mary.”She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
Mary did not recognize Jesus in his transformed resurrected Body, she mistook him for the gardener. She sought the dead among the living and besought him to return the body of her Lord for its proper burial rites. Upon hearing her name upon his lips she recognized her Lord and cried out to him in Aramaic – Rabboni, teacher.
From our point of view in our poorly understood Jewish mores how can we understand why Mary could not touch Jesus.
Mary was not to hold onto Jesus until he had ascended to the Father. Notice Jesus is returning to “my father and your Father, to my God and your God. This was the message Mary was to take to Jesus’ Disciples. We know that hearing this news from a woman was dubious information and that both Peter and John had to race to see whether or not Jesus was in the tomb.
What did Jesus mean when he spoke of Ascending to the Father on this, the first day of his resurrection,a little ahead of himself wasn’t he?
Returning to the cross we read’ – “Then one of the criminals who was hanged blasphemed Him, saying, If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us. But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise’” (Luke 23:39-43). source https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/thief-on-cross
Jesus does remember him when he comes into his kingdom because Jesus had never left his kingdom! John 3:13 K.J.V.
Jesus had said to Nicodemus that [” no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”]
We will not discuss at length whether anyone has gone to heaven before Jesus or where did Enoch and Elijah actually go to if not to heaven.
The key of course is that Jesus is the only one ever to return to the earth, and while on the earth he was to be lifted up like the brass serpent Moses lifted up in the desert to save his people from the powers of the Devil(That Great Serpent)
A week later whatever Jesus had had to do while with his Father had been accomplished and Jesus was able to assure the doubting Thomas that he was indeed the risen Lord
Therefore where was Jesus during the 3 days he was in the tomb?