Then the disciples went away to their own homes. But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
Then they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and she did not know that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, "Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where you have lain Him, and I will take Him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him, "Rabboni!" (which is to say, Teacher).
Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'"
I don't know about you but I don't think I would have casually answered two angels if they appeared before me!
Looking in the other Gospels we see variations of the same event. Matthew says Mary Magdalene and "the other Mary" came to the tomb. And there was an earthquake, the stone was rolled away by a man in white clothing. He told the women not to fear for Jesus was risen. And Jesus met them and spoke to them as they headed to tell the disciples.
Mark tells us Mary Magdalene was there with Mary, mother of James, and Salome who was also called Mary. When they arrived the stone was rolled away and one man in white sat inside. He also said He was risen. More interaction...He appeared first to Mary Magdalene and clearly all were afraid and said nothing to anyone.
Luke says certain women, followers of Jesus, arrived with the anointing spices at the tomb. The stone was rolled away. There were two men in shining garments. They also said He was risen and reminded them of His words regarding His capture, crucifixion and resurrection. They were afraid. And they remembered. There were four women, the three Marys and Joanna.
How could there have been four versions? My simple definition, the astonishment or fear altered the stories; the ears hearing the accounts heard differently. If there is an accident and various witnesses, are all their stories the same? Imagine the moment. Jesus is dead, buried and now He's gone. The thoughts that would have gone through their minds, apart from the grief they'd been going through.
The stories might not be exactly the same, but the fact that Jesus was risen and once again met with the women and the disciples was the important point. Jesus was risen. He spoke to them. This message is for us too. He IS risen and He still speaks to us. They saw and believed. That belief has carried on for nearly 2,000 years. Their Teacher. Rabboni! He still speaks today through the many different testimonies of people who have met Him.
How do we know that we have NOT been in His presence, or the presence of angels, before? There are scriptures that tell us: ...for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in... We might question, ‘Lord, when did we do these things for You?' Jesus might answer: Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me. (Matthew 25:35,37,40) We may have seen Him but also not known Him. Entertaining strangers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. (Hebrews 13:2) And what about the good Samaritan?
So Mary...and others...heard His voice and finally recognized Him. I ask again, how many times might we have heard His voice but did not recognize Him? He calls us in various ways to come to Him. But do we respond like Mary? Even as believers He calls. I believe He can speak or call to us through strangers in various ways, through help or the message of the Gospel. We need to recognize that.
Jesus calls us to know Him, to allow Him to teach us the truth of His Word. These people had sat listening to His Words, wondering at the words He spoke about dying and rising from the dead. It was at this moment that Mary too saw and believed. Not because of what the disciples might have said. In this account it appears He came to her. Maybe it was an instant when she needed to see Him and the incident seemed just for her. He chose to show her all He had said was true. She now knew and believed. There have been times in services when it seemed the words spoken were just for me. Others heard what I did, but those words, at that moment, were just for me. Might this have been the same thing?
Who can say we haven't had our own experiences? What an amazing time to have lived. To have seen Jesus face to face. Yet, it still happens today. Any time is amazing with our Lord. Look and see. We are spiritually blind until we meet Him...and allow Him to be our Teacher. Rabboni!
Matthew 13:15 - For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and
their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.