Why Did Jesus Fold the Napkin?

This is one I have only seen circulating a couple of times, so; if this touches you, you may want to forward it.

Place Setting with Folded Napkin

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

I never noticed this before … In 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 the entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly folded, and placed separate than the other grave clothes.

Early ‘on the first day of the week’, 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 back and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved (John).

She said, ‘They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him!’ John 20:2

Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see. The other disciple (John) outran Peter and got there first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen clothes 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 by itself.

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!

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren,
concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not,
even as others which have no hope.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord,
that we which are alive and remain unto the
coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:
and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up
together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:
and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

He is Coming Back!

©2014 Mark Davis

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183 Comments

  1. Jesn Smith

     /  March 26, 2017

    Happiness

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Gerri Feinstein

     /  March 26, 2017

    AMAZING LOVE BEYOND WORDS!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  3. Wow! I had just prayed at the service tonight, for God to teach me, give me wisdom as I read his word this week.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • That is awesome, Karen. God leads in mysterious ways, doesn’t He? There is so much in the Bible that we don’t know and all we have to do is to be open to the Holy Spirit’s leading and He will reveal to us those things that we need to know for something that He knows we will need it for. I’m glad that it could be a blessing to you. Don’t forget to pass it along for others to know as well.
      –Mark Davis, Administrator

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  4. JoAnn

     /  March 24, 2017

    Amen, thank You Jesus.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  5. Krista

     /  March 24, 2017

    Wow ! He’s not done, he’s coming back !!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  6. Deanna Conner

     /  March 23, 2017

    PTL, the death, the resurrection, the ascension. Our promise and assurance of life everlasting with our Father and Lord, Jesus Christ. Thank you Jesus for loving us when we aren’t so lovable, forgiving us over and over, and for giving us the Hope of Glory. We love you!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  7. Paula

     /  March 21, 2017

    Whether the explanation is true or not, at least Jesus showed us to be neat and fold our napkins before we leave the table. I’m not saying this to be sarcastic, but to say that even if this story isn’t factual according to historical tradition, there’s always a lesson to be learned from the examples Jesus shows us in His Word! You only have to read and learn; don’t skip the details; every jot and tittle has a meaning.

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  8. Interesting that the napkin was folded (I’m returning) but the linen wrappings were not (I’m done!) So in doing so he sent BOTH messages.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • You are very perceptive, Markr65. The part that He was done with, is as He said on the cross, “It is finished!” The price had finally been paid for the redemption of our souls – His death and taking all of our sins upon Him as He hung on the cross. The greatest part of it all was the fact that He rose again on the third day. You see, any man can die (in any manner), but, He not only died, but He rose again, proving that He was truly God – for only God can bring life.

      The Napkin just added another chapter to the story, implying that He would be back. His work on earth had been finished, but his Plan was not completed. He, at creation, never intended for us to live in a world of sin, but in a perfect place where He could converse with us as He did with Adam and Eve before the fall.

      He will be back as the story goes! If you keep track of the prophecies listed in the Bible, it seems that we should see His re-appearing very soon – It won’t be too soon for me.

      God bless you, Markr65.
      –mark

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  9. TJ

     /  April 8, 2016

    Awesome study, always something new to learn about our Lord

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  10. Judith

     /  April 5, 2016

    Jesus I trust in you. You are the way the truth and the life.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  11. I have already heard this before. We were discussing in Sunday
    School this Easter, the disciples going to the tomb and finding it empty. I said that they missed a very important clue – the folded napkin where Jesus’ head had laid. One of the members said that she had gone to Snopes and they had debunked that as fact. I want to go to an expert in Hebrew tradition and life to get to the real truth. I personally believe the “folded napkin” story. I want to prove it as fact with an expert, so I can tell my friends. Do you know how I can do that?

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    • Charlotte Morriss

       /  March 29, 2016

      It has been brought to the Hebrew Rabbi’s (christian and traditional) and all have said that this simply is not true., here is just 1 article but we did a Seder meal a week before the first time I saw this (funny on the timing and the Seder was 2 weeks ago) and the guy who is a missionary over in Israel said that this is not true as well. it is a modern day custom among the rich over there and he said the word tradition or custom you would to use loosely. https://www.truthorfiction.com/folded-napkin/

      http://www.jerusalemperspective.com/3878/

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    • There have been some that have refuted this as fact and to be very honest, in the regular person’s home, they wouldn’t even have a table most times, just a blanket and they just put things out in bowls and dip their bread into it (called to sup) but the story in the illustration given seems like a nobleman’s home. Some would also say that the tradition didn’t start until the A.D. 300 time period.

      Personally, I couldn’t really care less if the napkin story is true or not, the rest of the article is VERY TRUE!

      CHRIST IS COMING BACK, and it could be today. Let’s put down the arguing and bickering about such a piddly thing like this and take the blessing away from the fact that Jesus DID raise and assended into Heaven and WILL BE coming back to TAKE HIS CHILDREN INTO HEAVEN AS HE SAID.

      Take the BLESSING, not the argument from the story. Thanks be to God for His Son and His gift to us.

      God bless you and all who read this.

      Site Administrator,
      –mark

      Liked by 1 person

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  12. Tim Moore

     /  March 28, 2016

    love to the max

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  13. Terry Henrie

     /  March 27, 2016

    It is just as Jesus said, You will see Me as I am going, in the clouds! He is risen and coming, again!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  14. Valerie frederick

     /  March 27, 2016

    76 years old, raised in a Christian church, and this is something I’ve never known. What a lovely tradition!

    Thank the Lord he died and rose again for us!! Thank you for sharing this wonderful story! CHRIST is risen, hallelujah! I love the way Facebook converts CHRIST to all caps! Thank you Facebook!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  15. Janie

     /  March 27, 2016

    This is encouraging jndeed! What a SAVIOUR!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  16. Charles E Vanover

     /  March 26, 2016

    TruthOrFiction.com says of this:
    We have checked numerous Bible study sources and have found nothing about this alleged Jewish custom of the folded napkins. We did not find any Bible scholars who have used this story and illustration about the meaning of the folded napkin.

    Additionally we talked with a Jewish rabbi friend of TruthOrFiction.com’s who has been a life-long Orthodox Jew, a Jewish scholar, and lives in Jerusalem, Israel, and he said he’d never heard of it

    The only references to this story that we found are from Internet postings and emails that seem to have originated in 2007.

    Jesus is coming back but not back to the tomb. It will forever remain empty.

    The main thrust of John 20:7 is to convey that the cloth, which was placed over Jesus head or face at burial, was separate from the rest of his grave clothes and in verse 8 we’re told this caused John to believe that Jesus was resurrected “And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

    The important point is “and he saw, and believed.”

    What was there about the grave clothes being in one place and the face cloth being in another that could possibly have made John believe?

    My younger brother ran a funeral home for several years. We were discussing this scripture one day and he started explaining to me how the bodies were prepared for burial at that time and place. He said that each finger and toe, as well as the limbs and body, were wrapped individually giving the appearance of a mummy. The spices used to keep down the odor of the decomposing body made the mummy shape very hard and air-tight so the face was left open to allow decomposition gases to escape. This is how all Jewish bodies were prepared for burial. We read in Acts 5:5-6 “And Ananias hearing these words fell down and gave up the ghost: and great fear came upon all that heard it. And the young men arose and wrapped him round, and they carried him out and buried him.”

    Mark said of Joseph in Mark 15:46 “And he bought a linen cloth, and taking him down, wound him in the linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out of a rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.”

    John gives us even more details in John 19:39-40 “And there came also Nicodemus, he who at the first came to him by night, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. So they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.

    Joseph and Nicodemus had already soaked the linen with about a hundred pounds of spices and the three women brought even more spices to pour on the mummy shape. Mark 16:1 “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, brought spices, that they might come and anoint him.”

    Now we can easily understand why John believed. He looked in, saw the mummy shape that was laying there empty and the cloth that had covered the now empty face hole laying by itself. Jesus had left the mummy shape through the face hole!

    That’s also why the “Shroud of Turin” will never be proven to have covered Jesus. It is a fraud!

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  17. Jesus is not coming back to the GRAVE! The napkin was actually His prayer shawl which covered His head at burial! It was left for Peter and John to find because it was Jesus’, and it was folded like He folded it every time after use! It was PROOF THAT HE WAS ALIVE! DEAD MEN DON’T FOLD PRAYER SHAWLS…JESUS DID BECAUSE HE WAS ALIVE!!! IT WAS A PERSONAL SIGN TO THE DISCIPLES WHO HAD TRAVELED WITH JESUS FOR THREE YEARS THAT HE WAS ALIVE, NOT THAT HE WOULD RETURN TO THE GRAVE!!!

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  18. Myrtle Nalbach

     /  March 26, 2016

    Amen yes Jesus is is cing back to take us to Heaven with Him Glory ,Hallejuah!!!!! I didn’t know this about the folded napkin or the cloth that covered His face.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  19. Betty McIntyre

     /  March 26, 2016

    Indeed He is and I am looking forward to that day (which I hope will happen in my lifetime), even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  20. Lisa renfro

     /  March 26, 2016

    Wonderful cultural explanation. People from that era would have understood the connotation while it has been lost to us over time. Thanks for the explanation.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  21. Cathy Carter

     /  March 26, 2016

    This just put excitement and hope in my soul and spirit to know that Christ my savior is coming back. Now we must hold steadfast to his promises, and a hat he died for. We are the and the ambassadors of Jesus Christ called to do good works. So let us be about our Fathers business for HE IS COMING BACK!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  22. carole

     /  March 26, 2016

    Thank you so much for this bit of information. I had never even given the folded head covering a thought other than it was written in scripture.. So many nuggets in His Word if only we knew to look at those seemingly small details…

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  23. george hut

     /  March 25, 2016

    AMEN

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  24. Wanda S. Brady

     /  March 25, 2016

    Wonderful witnessing tool. The True Meaning of Easter! God Bless You and your work for the Lord!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  25. I am glad to know the reason for the folded napkin. I am wanting for his return. Amen.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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