Monday, July 16, 2007


1The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
2Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the LORD out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
3Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
4So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
5And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
6Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
7And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. (John 20:1-7)

The burial napkin was not thrown aside, but it was neatly folded and left where His head had been.
When someone died in those days, it became the duty of the son or a friend to close the eyes of the dead, then kiss the cheeks. When Jesus died, this was the duty of Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus. They took Jesus' body from the cross, washed the blood and dirt from the body of the One they loved so much and laid it in a new tomb.
They wrapped the body in clean white linen. They placed a linen napkin around His head, took one long look at Jesus, then walked out of the tomb.
At sunrise, Mary Magdalene came running to Peter and John and told them that somebody had taken the Lord away. They ran to the empty tomb. John looked inside and saw the linen clothes lying there. The napkin which was placed around the head was neatly folded.
Back in those days there was a Hebrew custom that was used among the Jews. The servant had to make sure that everything was perfect when his master dined. There was a verbal silence that was strictly maintained. But there was a way to communicate.
When the master had finished his meal he usually left the napkin aside by the plate and went away. This was a sign to the servant that he start taking away all the plates. But when the master left the napkin "neatly folded" it meant something else. It meant "I'm not finished yet. I'm coming back".
When John saw the napkin folded neatly, he knew what it meant, for God spoke to his heart,"I'm not finished. I'm coming back".
Peter went in next and saw the napkin as well. Jesus was not finished. He came back to His disciples and lived with them for forty days more.
He still isn't isn't finished. He is still saving souls. He is not finished saving sinners or sanctifying saints or sending out servants. The napkin is still folded. "If I go...I will come again."

(Thanks to Dr. Clyde Box for writing "The folded napkin".)

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