The Gospel According to the Internet…..Check Out What You Read

A friend sent this to me and asked for my opinion. 

“Why Did Jesus Fold the Napkin?
This is one I can honestly say I have never seen circulating so; if this touches you, you may want to forward it.

Why did Jesus fold the linen burial cloth after His resurrection? I never noticed this….

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 separate from the grave clothes. 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!”
As I checked it out here is what I found:

” He also saw the face cloth that had been on Jesus’ head. It wasn’t with the other clothes but was folded up in its own place”. John 20:7 

 rom ““- It has been rumored that folding the napkin at the table is a Jewish custom that means the person folding the napkin intends to return. Numerous Bible study sources have been checked, but there is nothing about this alleged Jewish custom of the folded napkins. The only references to this story seem to be from internet postings and emails that appear to have originated in 2007. Many Bible commentators and authors have used this creative illustration to make specific application to the resurrection and return of Jesus Christ. The truth is that table napkins, such as we use today, were not used in Jesus’ day. Jews would do an after-meal hand washing as part of the eating ritual. Washing of the hands before a meal was mandatory according to rabbinic injunction, but after washing their hands, did people dry them with a cloth? Apparently, there is no early rabbinic source that discusses how the hands were dried after washing them. The folding of the napkin as a sign that a dinner guest was finished may be good European custom, but it appears this custom was unknown in the land of Israel in the time of Jesus. Read more: 

Matthew Henry’s Bible commentary offers this: When we arise from the death of sin to the life of righteousness, we must leave our grave-clothes behind us, must put off all our corruptions. Christ left those in the grave, as it were, for our use if the grave be a bed to the saints, thus he hath sheeted that bed, and made it ready for them; and the napkin by itself is of use for the mourning survivors to wipe away their tears. The grave-clothes were found in very good order, which serves for an evidence that his body was not stolen away while men slept. Robbers of tombs have been known to take away the clothes and leave the body; but none [prior to the practices of modern resurrectionists] ever took away the body and left the clothes, especially when it was fine linen and new, Mark 15:46. Any one would rather choose to carry a dead body in its clothes than naked. Or, if those that were supposed to have stolen it would have left the grave-clothes behind, yet it cannot be supposed they should find leisure to fold up the linen. The IVP New Testament Commentary offers this: Great attention is given to the grave clothes. The strips of linen (vv. 5-6; othonia) were the covering for the body, whether they consisted of strips, as in the NIV, or a shroud (see comment on 19:40) or both. Since Jesus’ resurrected body was able to appear in a locked room (v. 19), it seems he simply passed through the grave clothes. With the body gone, the clothes were presumably collapsed, though perhaps retaining much of their shape due to the spices. The cloth for Jesus’ head (soudarion) was either a face covering or a cloth tied around Jesus’ face to hold his jaw in place (see comment on 11:44). If the latter, then perhaps John’s description indicates the cloth was lying in place, still in the oval shape it had when around Jesus’ head. Or it could be John means this cloth, however it had been used, was in a separate place, rolled or wrapped up (v. 7, entetyligmenon). Jesus’ body passed through the grave clothes, presumably including the soudarion, so the fact that the soudarion was rolled up suggests Jesus tidied up before leaving! “There were no traces of haste. The deserted tomb bore the marks of perfect calm” (Westcott 1908:2:340). The royal calmness of Jesus throughout his Passion is also hinted at here in his resurrection. 

John Wesley offered this comment: Peter seeth the linen clothes lie – and the napkin folded up – The angels who ministered to him when he rose, undoubtedly folded up the napkin and linen clothes. (Remember that some who had come to the tomb reported seeing angels.) 

My observation: Others have commented that, in seeing the folded napkin, John “believed”…… believed the reports of the women? That Jesus had been resurrected miraculously and not stolen? Believed all that Jesus had prophesied about his death and resurrection? …. because the napkin would likely have been missing or simply thrown in a corner if theives had done this. Additionally, we may never know why John felt led to share this particular detail, but the point to take away is that it had significance to John in the moment…….enough that he became immediately aware that something totally new was being done and he became willing to continue to await Jesus’ revelation of himself and his plan. He knew he didn’t have all the information but became convinced that Jesus would show them what was to be done next. And we must have the same kind of faith, even in the face of questions about “why” this or that is the way it is!