Why did Jesus fold the facial burial cloth after His resurrection?
The Gospel of John (20: 7) tells us that the napkin, 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 napkin was neatly folded, and was placed at the head of that stony coffin.
“… the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.” (New King James Version)
Why is that important?
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 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 was finished eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and 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.” But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because the servant knows that the folded napkin means, “I’m not finished yet.”
Even today, in some of the world’s most distinguished restaurants, that tradition is still in practice. In these dining establishments, the wait staff observes discretely when a customer leaves their table for any reason. As the customer disappears around the corner or through a door, the waiter quietly comes to the customer’s chair … and folds his napkin, signifying to all that the customer will be returning soon.
The folded napkin means, “I’m coming back!”
Jesus is coming back! He folded His napkin!!
Celebrating the Power of His Resurrection …
and the Promise of His Return!