John 20:10-12, How many angels at the tomb? Part II of II
Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
//Yesterday, I pointed out the growing legend of angels at the tomb of Jesus. The three Synoptic Gospels portray first a man in white, then an angel in white, then two men/angels in white. In Mark and Matthew, the angel is sitting outside the tomb, on the stone door. In Luke, the two angels are inside the tomb, standing.
Will the final Gospel settle the argument?
The first thing to notice is that John sets one record straight: Luke is right. Two angels, and they’re inside the tomb, not outside. They sit (no longer stand) precisely where Jesus was laid.
In John’s Gospel, the two beings are called angels, but with a twist. Peter and John themselves, standing inside the tomb, see no angels. But they see something else, and it makes one think.
They see two white piles. A pile of linen, and a burial cloth. John takes pains to point out that they are in two separate piles. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Could he be subtly giving us a clue, here?
Now, Mary, peering into the darkness of the tomb after Peter and John have gone home, sees two “angels in white,” precisely where the piles of white rested.