As I was reading this morning in John 20, one particular detail hit me again. In light of the upcoming Easter season, I thought sharing it would be encouraging for us today. As recorded in John 20:1–10, " 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.  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.”  So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb.  Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.  And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in.  Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there,  and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.  Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed;  for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead.  Then the disciples went back to their homes." (ESV) In verse 7, we read that the face cloth of Jesus had been neatly folded (rolled up) and placed by itself. Why would John include this seemingly minor detail? One, he had witnessed it himself. Two, it would have been peculiar because it expressed the sovereign control and working of God in Christ. This is no hurried Jesus. This detail obliterates the notion that Jesus' body was stolen by his disciples (those fearfully locked in a room), or by others trying to attempt to spread some pseudo theory. Jesus rose from the dead and neatly returned the face cloth. He had no further need of it. He calmly, assertively, boldly, and sovereignly was guiding the entire situation, namely his resurrection (John 10:17-18). From theologian Herman Ridderbos, "At the entombment these cloths served to keep the hands and feet of the body together and to hold the head in the desired position. Now they lay there, left behind in good order, each in its own place, as discarded attributes that were no longer of any use and also, with the stone that had been rolled away, as silent witnesses of Jesus’ victory not only over death but also over the grave in which his body had been laid" (Herman N. Ridderbos, The Gospel according to John: A Theological Commentary, trans. John Vriend (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997), 633).
Praise the LORD! We have and serve a risen Savior-King, Jesus! For His Name's Sake, Pastor Brian