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The Napkin
Posted: Mar 30, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

I love Easter. I remember going to my grandparents house as a kid every Easter. When we got there, she would hide our Easter baskets and make us go and find them. For some reason, mine was always hid the best. In fact, I think there are a few Easter baskets from years past that to this day have never been found. As a kid, Easter was all about candy and bunnies and ham. Don’t ask me why, but we always had ham on Easter. As I have gotten older, Easter’s meaning has changed a little bit.

A few months ago, I was privelaged to spend some time in Israel. While in Israel, we got to spend one afternoon at Gordon’s Calvary which is one of two speculated locations for Calvary. Seing the place where Jesus (in all liklihood) gave His life for me was a truly sureal experience. After spending several minutes staring at the hill that looks just like a skull, we made our way through the garden to where the tomb would have been. It was a round tomb. Probably about 10 feet long by 12 feet wide and 7 feet high. It was actually built to be a two person tomb. When Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus’ body down from the cross, he wrapped it in linen strips. This was actually a burial that would have been given to a rich man. Jesus was not rich during his 33 years on Earth but Joseph most certainly would have been. After the linen wrappings would have been placed, a towel or as the King James Version calls it a “napkin” would have been placed over the head of Jesus.

When Peter and John were told by Mary Magdalene that Jesus was raised from the dead, they took off towards the tomb. John 20:3-7 tell us what they saw when they arrived.

“Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings.”

What is the significance behind the cloth (napkin) being folded up? In Jewish culture, meal times were very significant. Today, it is very rare for a famliy to sit down together and have a meal. In Jewish traditon, family meals were a very sacred time. When a Jewish man would get up from the table, he would take his napkin, wipe off his face and beard and throw the wadded up napkin on top of the plate. This would signify to the person cleaning up the meal that he was finished with his meal. If, however, the man wanted to get up from the table and not have his plate taken away, he would take his napkin, fold it and place it on his plate. This was an indication that the he was not finished eating and would be coming back.

Did you catch the symablism? The folded up napkin that the disciples found in the tomb on Easter Sunday was a message. And that message was, “I’m coming back!”

Just a little something to think about this Easter season.

With Expectancy!

Corey
corey@firstassemblywest.com

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