Folio 117r - "The Angel on the Tomb" - of the Pericopes of Henry II, created in the 11th Century. The manuscript is now maintained in Munich, at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library). Image online, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
After Jesus was buried, religious leaders wanted to make sure no one stole his body. They went to Pilate and said:
We remember that while he was still alive the deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise again.' So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.
Pilate agreed to their demands.
"Take a guard," Pilate answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how." So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
Calling some of the disciples, the women returned to the tomb. Mary Magdalene stayed behind when the others went back to their homes. Looking inside the tomb, she:
...saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying?’
Never expecting to see Jesus again, Mary Magdalene responds:
‘They have taken my Lord away...and I don’t know where they have put him.’ At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize it was Jesus.
Jesus asked her:
Why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?
Thinking he was the gardener, she asked Him to tell her where the body was so she could retrieve it. Not until Jesus said,
did she realize who He was.
Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.
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