And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.  – John 20:6-7

There are a couple of interesting points about this verse that would be easy to overlook if not looked at under a microscope.  In this devotion, we will examine these two points very briefly.  Hopefully, one would not see this verse in the same light.

First, it is necessary to recognize the phrase, “and the face-cloth which had been on his head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.”  The word “face-cloth” from the NASB is translated “napkin” in the KJV.  The Greek rendering of this word is soudarium, from the Latin sudarium.  The word traditionally refers either to a napkin or a cloth used to wipe sweat from one’s face.

The first point to examine is the fact that it was rolled up or folded up in a place by itself.  The fact that it is folded implies that when the Christ rose from the dead, that it was not in a hurry, but took His time and neatly folded the cloth, setting it aside.  From an apologetics standpoint, it proves that His body was not stolen.  If thieves had come to hastily take his body away, they would not have taken the time to neatly fold His face-cloth.

The second point is steeped in Jewish meaning and tradition.  At a traditional Jewish meal, the servant would wait out of sight for the master to finish eating his meal before coming to clean off the table.  When the master was done eating, he would wipe off his hands and face, then toss the napkin to the table, which was a signal to the servant that he was done eating.  But if the master would neatly fold the napkin and place it to the side, then it was a signal that he was not done eating, but that he was coming back.  So, when Jesus neatly folded the cloth and laid it to the side, He was telling us, “I’m coming back!”

Thanks to God for our resurrected, returning savior!



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