20:8 Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.
11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 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.
You have to love the sensitivity of Peter and John. (Insert sarcastic voice) Jesus did tell them very plainly that He was leaving. Now that they know He is alive but not in the tomb or anywhere near the tomb they assume He must be gone. Not only did He say He was leaving but He said where He was going they could not follow Him now. So taking Him at His word they turned around and went back home. No point in hanging around an empty tomb.
Meanwhile Mary is still there. This seems to be of no concern to them as they brush past her and head back for breakfast. Her tears don't seem to even be noticed by them. However for Mary it's not as simple as "well He's gone, let's go home." She is devastated. Notice the huge word that pops up all through the Bible - BUT. Peter and John headed home BUT... But Mary stayed. She didn't know why she was staying she just knew she couldn't leave yet.
Think about it. Why do we visit cemeteries? There is no one there. Why do we leave flowers or other tokens of affection? There is no one there to appreciate them. We might as well be all logical and stay home or go home. It's just silly right?
Yet we go and we linger. Those who loved most linger longest. Mary can't leave. Gathering her courage she enters the dark tomb. She has to see for herself. As she stoops to go in she sees light. She isn't alone! Whether the other Mary is still with her we are not told but someone is in the tomb! As she gets in far enough to see she sees two men. They are no ordinary men either. They are angels! One is sitting where His feet had been and the other where His head had been. Perhaps one unwrapped His head and face and folded the cloth while the other unwrapped his body. Who knows.
Not important really.
Lesson: The word But frames some pretty important lessons in the Bible as does the word If. Track those two words from Genesis to Revelation and you will discover lots but if you don't you won't. That is the lesson here. Mary was tracking Jesus. She just wanted Him. Wherever He was she wanted to be and if she didn't know where He was she stayed where he had been. Because of her relentless pursuit of Him she was always in the middle of the action. She was the first to know the tomb was open and empty and now she is the first to get word from Heaven about what is going on because she lingered when everyone else left.
While Martha is cooking Mary is sitting at His feet. While everyone is feasting Mary is washing His feet and anointing Him with perfume. While everyone is sleeping Mary is headed for the tomb. When everyone leaves Mary lingers.
"You will search for Me and you will find Me when you search with all your heart." - Jesus
Peter's logic sent him home. Mary's heart kept her close. Why didn't the angels show up for Peter?
It's a heart thing...