John 20.11-13 cont.
11 Mary stood weeping at the tomb, and as she wept she stooped, peering into the tomb,
12 and she saw two angels in white sitting there, one was at the head and one was at the feet of where the body of Jesus had been laid.
13 And they said (say) to her: “Lady, why are you crying?” And she said (say) to them: “They have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they have laid Him”.
This account that John records has no means of verification; it appears that this was a private visitation by two angels to Mary.
We all have experiences of our being the only witness to something. I remember travelling alone one night; it had been raining, and the moon was shinning. Looking into the night sky I saw what I can only describe as a negative rainbow. There was no colour to it. No one else appears to have seen it, and I have never seen anything like it since.
When we are the only witness to something it is up to others to decide whether or not to believe us.
Mary was the only witness to the two angels who both asked her why she was crying.
John did not see them, but he believed what Mary said, and that what she had seen was real. It was not a vision. We can determine this by the facts John gives to us, which must have been passed on to Him by Mary.
The facts are these:
- there were two angels;
- they were dressed in white;
- they were sitting in specific places – one where the head of Jesus had been, and one at the feet of where Jesus had laid;
- they speak to her.
These facts give validity to the words of Mary.
We can only imagine that such a tremendous event would soon have become well known amongst the disciples, and also amongst the early Church.
It is interesting that neither John nor Peter were visited by angels. It was just the women. Perhaps the women were more receptive to angelic visitation, but this does not agree with other occasions when men were visited by angels, such as the shepherds in the nativity events.
Perhaps the women needed more assurance in grief than the disciples did, but we can only imagine that the disciples were in more danger than the women, and, therefore, needed more reassurance at that time.
We do not know why it was. However, we do know that angels played a major part in the resurrection of Jesus.
They are God’s messengers despatched by Him to bring comfort to those grieving.
Today we know that there are those who are visited by angels, and those who are not.
The truth is that those who receive such visitations are blessed by God, and so are those who do not.