I’m Coming Back

I’m Coming Back

By: Randy Hahne


“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 disciples 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, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He 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. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed” (John 20:1-9).


This was an amazing moment of discovery for the disciples. Just a couple of days before, Jesus was placed in this very tomb and now he is gone. All that is left is some folded linen. Why did Jesus fold the linen burial cloth after His resurrection? The Gospel of John (20:7) tells us that the cloth, which was placed over the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave clothes. The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the cloth was neatly folded, and was placed separate from the grave clothes. The disciples also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying to the side. Was that important? Absolutely!


Is it really significant? Yes! In order to understand the significance of the folded cloth, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day. The folded cloth 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 set 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, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that cloth and toss it onto the table.


The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days, the wadded cloth meant, ‘I’m done’. But if the master got up from the table, and folded his cloth, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because it meant, “I’m coming back!” This was the very message Jesus was telling his disciples. This is exactly what Easter is about! Jesus came back from the dead. If Jesus did not come back there would be no newness of life, we would still be in our sin, and we would have no eternal hope.


As you sit down this Easter to eat your meal, remember the folded cloth. Remember Jesus came back to rescue you from sin and death. And remember, Jesus will come back again to receive those who are his!