Knowledge is light. I have never taken note of this folded napkin truly until I saw this image sent to my Facebook messenger through a friend and I looked closely to know why the napkin in the tomb of Jesus Christ was folded and laid beside the cave. This is the analogy of the folded napkin.
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!’
The obvious meaning of this is that when you go into a standard restaurant or even in some Nouveau riche homes, you and I know that food, cutlerries and napkins will be there for you on the table. Your napkin will be the last thing for you to use but when you have not finished your food, you may not touch your napkin, even when you go out to do something and your waiter or waitress senses that your napkin is still untouched, he or she will not clear your table no matter how many hours it takes you to return. That’s one of the lessons in the etiquette of table manners.
So, for Jesus Christ to have left the napkin untouched, it simply means that He’s coming back, no doubt. Are you prepared to witness His Second Coming?
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