Why did Jesus fold the facial linen burial cloth after His resurrection??????

The Gospel of John {20:1-7} 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.

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 did not 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.

Is 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 the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not dare touch the 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 ….


Hat Tip: John Funk

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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  1. Christ's Soldier and Servant says:

    That is great to know about a detail I have always wanted to know.


  2. Fiona Rodriguez says:

    WHAT A GREAT STORY!  Thank you, Your Excellency! 

  3. Darrell Wright says:

    That’s an interesting way to interpret it and makes sense. But I believe an angel folded it. Another mystery to find out thoroughly after we die!

  4. [Matt 26:27-29]: “And taking the chalice, he gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this. For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins. And I say to you, I will not drink from henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father.”
    Your discovery of the meaning of the rolled up scarf confirms the intention expressed by the Lord Jesus during the last supper before his death that He will return to the table, but already in the Father’s Kingdom.
    If the Lord Jesus is talking about a new cup, it means that the cup He drank in the Upper Room has become old compared to the one He will drink in the Father’s kingdom. If this “old” cup actually contained the most precious Blood of the Savior, what will this new one contain? Has anyone undertaken to consider this issue?
    The Father’s kingdom is the kingdom for which the Church has been asking Heavenly Father for almost 20 centuries. The inauguration of this Kingdom is connected with the third, indirect coming of Christ in the person of the great Prophet, whom Saint Bernard of Clairvoux spoke about. Quote start:
    “If you keep the word of God in this way, it will also keep you. The Son with the Father will come to you. The great Prophet who will build the new Jerusalem will come, the one who makes all things new. This coming will fulfill what is written: As we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, we shall also bear the likeness of the heavenly man. Just as Adam’s sin spread through all mankind and took hold of all, so Christ, who created and redeemed all, will glorify all, once he takes possession of all.” End of quote.
    This famous excerpt on the three (3) comings of the Lord Jesus Christ is taken from a sermon by St. Bernard of Clairvaux (Sermo 5, In Adventu Domini, 1-3: Opera Omnia, Edit. Cisterc. 4 {1966}, 188-190. It is used in the Roman Office of Readings for Wednesday of the First Week of Advent. The accompanying biblical reading is taken from Isaiah 5:1-7.
    Who is this great Prophet who will build new Jerusalem?

  5. I cry with happiness.

    Thank you, Excellency, for this gigantic comfort.

    France Sacramento

    On Sun, Nov 3, 2019, 5:08 AM ABYSSUS ABYSSUM INVOCAT / DEEP CALLS TO DEEP wrote:

    > abyssum posted: ” WHY DID JESUS FOLD THE NAPKIN? Why did Jesus fold the > facial linen burial cloth after His resurrection?????? The Gospel of John > {20:1-7} tells us that the napkin, which was placed over the face of Jesus, > was not just thrown aside like the grave clo” >

  6. Christina Brundage says:

    Thank you so much for sending this! I know every verse in Scripture is important but that one verse seemed random to me – now I know what it meant! Amazing!

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