Jill Jarrell Newsome
I'm Coming Back
“Why did Jesus fold the linen burial cloth after His resurrection? John 20: 7, ‘as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen.’ It was not just thrown aside like the grave clothes. The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly folded and was placed at the head of that stony coffin.
John 20: 1-7, “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!’ So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen.”
Is this important? Absolutely! In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day. The folded napkin had to do with the Master and the servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition. When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it. The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not dare touch that table until the master was finished.
Now if the master was done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers and mouth with that napkin and toss it onto the table. The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, ‘I’m done.’ But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant knew that the folded napkin meant, ‘I’m not finished yet!’ The folded napkin meant, ‘I’m coming back!’” Someone shared this with me in 2008 and I love it!
I cannot imagine how sad Jesus’ loved ones were and how hopeless they must have felt. They believed in miracles. They had seen Jesus perform many miracles. He had fed more than 5000 with only two fish and five loaves of bread. He healed people who were sick. He walked on water and calmed storms. He raised Lazarus from the dead after four days! Even after all this they could have never imagined what God would do!
One Sunday morning, some of Jesus’ friends come to His tomb. The big rock covering the door of His tomb was rolled away! Where was Jesus? The nearby angels told them. Matthew 28: 6, “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.” It’s a miracle! Jesus is alive! His friends ran to tell everyone about the miracle. Because of this miracle, we can celebrate the sad Friday as Good Friday! Jesus died to take away our sins! Jesus is alive and He promises we will live with Him forever! Jesus Christ has risen! He has risen indeed!
Jesus left us with the hope and certainty that He will return to bring a new Heaven and a new earth. There will be no more sorrow, trouble, or death for those who have believed and followed Him. As Christians, we are to obey the command to tell the whole world about Christ crucified, buried, and risen. Matthew 28: 19-20, “ Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
He came back and He is coming back! We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song!