Why Did Jesus Fold the Napkin?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Why did Jesus fold the linen burial cloth after His resurrection?
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. John 20:6-7

The above verses tell 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 his napkin was neatly folded, and was placed at the head of that stony coffin.

Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the Entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, 'They have taken the Lord's body out of the tomb, and I don't know where they have put him!'

Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see. The other disciple outran Peter and got there first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen cloth 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 to the side.

Was that important? Absolutely! Is it really significant? Yes!

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 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 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 were done 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 folded napkin meant, 'I'm coming back!'

He is Coming Back!!
Enjoy your day!


  1. What a great post! I have never heard this - it gave me goosebumps!

    It just goes to show you that God is in EVERY little detail - even down to the folding of a piece of linen covering. I am always amazed at the details I continue to find and hear about in the Bible. Anyone who ever says that the Bible is boring - has never really read it. I can read the account of Genesis and find something new in it that I hadn't thought of before - even though I have read it time and again - all through my life. God's word is alive and He is forever teaching us. What a wonderful journey this life has been - sitting at Jesus feet and learning His truths every day!
    Thank you my friend for bringing this truth to my attention today on Maunday Thursday!
    Blessings to you,

  2. Lois,
    Praise God!! He is coming Back!!! Soon!!! Thank you for sharing this today, I am so blessed and renewed in my spirit. !! Again wishing you and your family a most Blessed and happy Resurrection Sunday!

  3. Yep, goosebumps here too. I've never heard that before.

    I love to research stuff like that. thanks so much for sharing!

    Have a blessed Easter!


  4. I love this. The promise of Easter is such a blessing. Thank you for reminding me of that today!

    p.s. Do you think Jesus was the only man ever to fold ANYTHING? LOL

  5. oh wow, I had not known that . What an amazing post, thanks for opening my eyes to the meaning of this. I have lerned alot this month of the different symbols of the crucifixion, it is mind boggeling. I can say this is maybe the first year I have been this close to Jesus in my walk, an thanks to you I am a bit more to where I need to be. I tell you he is really working quietly on me, it brings tears to my eyes. -I always thought I was close,but, he is saying not close enough, -

    Blessings to you:-)

  6. Yes I agree that your post was an eye opener for me. I did not know that.
    God is coming back and I hope to walk a little closer to him each day.
    Have a blessed Easter.

  7. How rich and great and marvelous is the character of our risen Savior and He is coming back! You've got me all fired up this morning. Blessings to you as you go into your Ressurection weekend.

  8. ah.. i never knew that!

    That is one great encouragement and HOPE!!

    wishing you a most blessed Easter to you and your family..

    love and hugs enclosed-

  9. Great post Lois...explained so beautifully. Have a wonderful and blessed Resurrection Sunday and weekend!

  10. What a great post Lois! So many things in the Bible I read and take at face value without ever really having thought of the background, or the reason why a particular thing has been recorded a particular way. As with the amazing Proverbs women posts where I first found your blog, I am always inspired, always lifted, and never disappointed when I read your insights into Scripture.

    Blessings and joy to you all for Good Friday, Fiona x

  11. I have read this several times before. Isn't it wonderful!!

    We know not what day or what hour but our Lord and Savior shall return to earth again!! Praise his mighty name.


  12. I had never thought of that. Thanks for pointing it out.

  13. I never thought of that either. ;)
    What a neat post!
    I hope you have a delightful day!!

    Many Blessings~ Miss Jen

  14. Oh what a wonderful post!!! I have never heard this story before!
    I want to thank you for stoping by and visiting...please come back anytime!

  15. I had never heard this before. How very cool!!

    Easter Blessings to you☺

  16. I have never heard this story. I could not wait to read it to Kenny. Praise God He's coming back! Thank you for sharing this with all of us.

    Have a blessed Easter.

    God is so Good!

  17. A beautiful story. Thank you. Happy Resurrection Sunday.

  18. Lois~

    What a wonderful post! He indeed will return one day!

    May you and your family have a wonderful Easter!! HE is Risen Indeed!!


  19. This just gave me chill bumps too! I was reminded of that final scene in "The Passion of the Christ"! He is coming back and probably sooner than we think!

    I loved this post! Thanks for sharing this!

    Have a blessed Easter!

  20. Wow, I have never heard this...simply amazing!

  21. Very powerful post, Lois! I just read this a while back- and awesome reminder for us- that He's coming for us:)

    Thanks dear friend and have a blessed Resurrection Sunday!

    Linda C

  22. I really hate to burst everyone's bubble, but there is a reason no one has ever heard of this... it is not accurate.

    The source is from a circulating e-mail (2007).


    I also had never heard of this connection and that is after studying Judaism and Christianity from around 400BC to the Middle Ages. The above "tradition" has never existed in either Jewish or Christian form and therefore, should not be promoted. Sorry.

    On another note, the Greek word used when "John sees" the linen cloth is (Horao) which, although denoting more than physical sight, it does not denote faith. This is why both John and Peter left the tomb that resurrection morning wondering what it all meant. Yes, John believed that Jesus wasn't there, but did he believe in the resurrection? Not certain, the text does not say. However, when all the disciples, minus Thomas, horao'd Jesus later that day, then they "believed".

    Christians today believe in part because of the eyewitness testimonies of those first disciples and the other 500 people who saw Jesus after the resurrection. And we are therefore, continuing the eyewitness accounts of that resurrection so that all may come to the saving faith of our LORD Jesus.