Study from God’s Word… The resurrection and post resurrection appearances of Jesus recorded in chronological passages from Matt 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20 – 21,as well as the Lord’s instructions and commission in Acts 1 … Passage for Reflection: John 20 : 6 – 7 … NIV Then Simon Peter … saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.
Also from John 20: 30, 31 … Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
My Journal for Today: I’m glad Dr. Smith, my devotional book author, pointed with specific reference in his entry for today to that little detail, which I’ve put in bold above from John 20 : 7, especially when this incredibly important bit of eye-witness evidence was reported in the context of what John later reported in this chapter of His Gospel account, that which I’ve made reference to in John 20: 30-31, his purpose in carefully recording the details of the miracles of Jesus so that others, even two millennia latter, like you and me, could believe on Christ as The Messiah, the Son of God, and our Savior and Lord. [Man, that was a Pauline run-on sentence, wasn’t it?]
I’ve heard preachers and teachers make reference to the power of that one little detail about the tomb of Jesus when, upon entry, Jesus’ disciples, including the reporter in this instance, John, noted that the burial cloths were neatly folded where Jesus had lain in the tomb. Have you ever thought about that little detail?
At a middle-eastern dinner of the day, the master of the home would signal the end of the meal by getting up from his reclining position to head toward the doorway of the home. The guests would follow the host; and immediately the servants in the home would come behind the master and guests and fold the dinner linens neatly on the table. They did this so that, if the master or the guests were to have second thoughts and return, the table linens would neatly be there to receive them.
Now you may be wondering where I’m going with this; but remember what Jesus had made a repetitive point of in His earthly ministry … that He was not only the MASTER; but He also was THE servant of His Father in Heaven; and He declared, “The greatest among you will be your servant.” (see Matt 23: 11) And that little detail of the linens being folded, showed all who would see (and understand) that Jesus was master over death; but that He had died and was risen again to serve mankind.
So much power and pertinence in a minute detail of God’s word! But these are the kinds of details which I didn’t discover for years after I surrendered my will, in faith, to become a born-again Christian. In fact there were many details about my professed faith that I would later come to learn about, understand, and find greatly confirming for my faith. I learned that it’s okay to have questions and to pursue answers for those questions … just like Thomas, the doubting disciple, when he heard that Jesus was risen.
But evidence like this one, wrapped up in a folded burial linen, is mostly available in the Bible to help the believer who has already come to faith in Christ as Lord … to confirm that faith. Oh, it is possible that some, like Thomas, will need hard details and evidence to have faith. Prominent atheist and intellectuals like C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, and Lee Strobel certainly needed, and later wrote about, their need for evidence to seal their belief; but many, if not most, like me, come desperately to Christ and surrender to Him as their only way to deal with life or brokenness. And after we’ve surrendered our life and faith to the Lordship of Jesus, the Christ, having little details, like the folded linen, help to seal and protect our faith; and such evidence also motivates us to go and share the joy and truth of the Good News of Christ with others, just as the women did when they found the tomb empty and the linens neatly folded where Jesus had lain.
I hope all who read here are believers and find the evidence of a folded linen greatly encouraging for us to go forth and shout out the truth that JESUS LIVES!!!
My Prayer for Today: Lord, Jesus, You live in my heart and the lives of all who believe You were the One who folded those linens to show me that You serve me as my Lord as I serve You forever as my Savior. Amen