Ruth is a story of a woman named Naomi who finds herself in a strange land with nothing and whose life is ultimately fulfilled through the steadfast love of her daughter in law, Ruth when she returns home.
I am always reminded of this story when I read the encounter of Jesus and Mary outside His tomb. Mary clings to Jesus just as Ruth clings to Naomi, refusing to be left behind. The contrast is that whereas Ruth could follow Naomi back to Bethlehem, Mary cannot go where Jesus must go and that though redemption was the result of Ruth’s faithfulness to Naomi, it would be made impossible if Jesus remained with Mary.
The comparison is also important. Mary’s love is compared to Ruth’s devotion to Naomi. Ruth could have stayed in her homeland with her own people and their gods, but chose, out of love and devotion, to follow her adoptive mother and to serve the God of Israel through that service. It’s that kind of love that Mary shows to Jesus and that He acknowledges in His loving rebuke, “Do not cling to me…”
You can read more on this in “The Last Temptation of Christ: Jesus and Mary Magdalene at the Tomb.”