The Folded Napkin 

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there,7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. John 20:1-7 

In our text, Mary comes first to the empty tomb. She sees the stone rolled away and it frightens her. She runs to get Peter and John, and they ran together to the tomb as fast as they could. John outran Peter, and when he got there, he looked inside, and saw those grave cloths lying there in disarray. Then Peter arrived and, just as we’d expect of him, went right in. He also saw the linen clothes lying there, but there was something unusual in that scene. Something caught their eye that was very interesting. The Gospel of John tells us that the napkin, which was placed over the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave cloths. 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. 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 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 were done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard. He would wad up 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.” If the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it aside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because the servant knew that the folded napkin meant, “I’m not finished yet.” The folded napkin meant, “I’m coming back!” 

May you and your families have a blessed Easter! He is Risen! Brian, Mary, Brylee, Holland Funderburk