Courageous Christian Father

"But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15

Why did Jesus Fold the Napkin?

Folded Napkin in the tomb of Jesus brings people to wonder why did Jesus fold the napkin?

I am sure you seen this story going around on the internet. With Easter coming up and the resurrection of Jesus I figured i would share this story. I saw this on on Facebook. I am going to share with you the story and some research that I have done on this story. This story has been said to have been around since 2007. I am also sure that some of this story has changed in some ways over those years too. So there may be a few different versions of this same story.

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Introduction | The Story | My Research | My Final Thoughts
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The Author

Steve Patterson

I am saved through the blood of Jesus Christ. I blog for God here at CourageousChristianFather.com. I serve as a youth leader, van driver and usher at my church. I also serve where ever else may be needed. I am working on a bachelor's degree in Theology. I also like to go out and hand out Gospel of John's and Gospel Tracts. I am a single father with custody of my almost adult child. I am a graphic designer too. Once an Eagle, Always an Eagle. I attained the rank of Eagle in the Boy Scouts of America in 1994.

17 Comments

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  1. Such an encouraging verse!!!

  2. It definitely makes sense to me how a master could use those signals to his servant when eating. And just because people have no idea about that possibility today, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen 2000 years ago. However, until verified, you are taking the right approach.

  3. coryenderby That is true, but until you know it fact we can’t say it is so. We can just say what people presume. Thanks for the comment and God Bless.

  4. The folded napkin does have significance or there wouldn’t be a verse specifically about it in the Bible. Just because we don’t know the meaning behind it, doesn’t mean there isn’t one. It could very well mean both these things. Often times, God uses few words to speak many.

  5. @Danielle  I never said that there wasn’t a reason, we may not know the true reason, but one day God will reveal that purpose, these are just speculations right now on the meaning. Doing research there hasn’t been any backing to these theories of why.

  6. I believe one reason the bible mentioned the separation of the body linen cloth and the separate face covering cloth, is to disprove the shroud of Turin. Jesus was buried with the head covering, so the body cloth would NOT contain a facial ‘imprint’. Since the John 20:8 mentions John saw the burial clothes and believed, I think the positioning of the body cloth and the way the head cloth was STILL folded/wrapped in the manner Joseph had prepared the body proved Jesus had risen through the cloth. He had NOT been unwrapped like Lazareth had need to be loosed when he came alive.  The stone was not rolled away to let Jesus out, but the witnesses in. The proof is when Jesus appears in the room without going through a door.

  7. I first heard about the Hebraic idiom of the folded napkin way earlier than 2007. But it has nothing to do with a master/servant relationship, but rather, with hospitality. As it was explained to me, is that it was a Hebrew/Middle-eastern custom to show hospitality to visitors in the home. We see Abraham and Sarah quickly preparing a meal for the three visitors in the Old Testament and even see hospitality shown to Christ before and after his resurrection. Even at the Passover supper (last supper), Christ washes and dries the feet of the disciples—all part of the hospitality customs.

    Now as a guest, the way you gave a non-verbal indication to your host that you accepted his hospitality and wanted to return to his home, you would leave the cloth used to dry your feet (and perhaps used during the meal) unfolded in the spot where you sat. That would show your host that you accepted his hospitality and was considered a compliment. But if you refolded the cloth the same way that it was presented to you and leaf it in your spot, it was considered as an insult because it meant that you did not accept your host’s hospitality.

    There is another idiom at pay in the use of the word “napkin’ (handkerchief, cloth, prayer closet, mansion, etc). It refers to a Jewish man’s prayer shawl—specifically the cloth that he uses to cover his head during prayer and used throughout his lifetime. Since it is significant, it is this cloth that Jesus used to leave a non-verbal message to anyone visiting the tomb.

    When Christ rose from death, he left the linens and cloths used to wrap his body tossed to the side because they were unimportant. But the prayer shawl that had been placed over his face during the hasty prep of his body during sundown on the day of his death, it was THAT cloth that he carefully refolded and left in the spot where he had been laid. It was THAT cloth that Peter and the other disciple (it is assumed to be James) saw and knew that Jesus had risen.

    Jesus had been a “guest” in the house of death, but refolded his “napkin” to insult the grave and to say that He never intended to return. He was truly resurrected and living—which is what Peter and James understood according to hospitality customs. I don’t know about you, but that is exciting to me. Physical proof of our Living, resurrected God. If it were not a significant thing that Jesus did, it would not have been mentioned in scripture.

    1. That’s totally awesome I never knew that. They is very interesting. I appreciate you sharing. Yes an insult to death as Jesus got the victory of death.

    2. @Debbie S. You sound like you are a Rabbi(?) Ralph Messer student, would you be willing to share where you got this information from?

    3. I like this and can better understand and visualize His unspoken messages of resurrection and defeating death. Awesome God. Thanks.

  8. Another insight to this would be that the head is now separate from the body… we are the Body of Christ – here represented by the linen cloths, – and the Head which is Christ – here represented by the napkin which had covered His head, the two remain connected but not as Jesus was on earth. As the Head He is “in a place by Himself”, all things perfectly in order; as the Body, we remain to continue to do His work on earth.

    1. Nice! Thanks for the comment, Carline. You are right, He is the head. We are the body. We are called to share the gospel, the Great Commission. We are told to not be ashamed. Have a great Easter!

      1. Hi Steve,

        This is an interesting discussion – so much to chew over!! Have you considered the link with Lazarus? How he came stumbling out of the tomb at the call of Life (Jesus) after four days of being dead. He was still tightly bound in his shroud and, – the same word is used for the head covering, – his head is covered. He must have looked a sight! Jesus tells those around to release him (“loose him and let him go”) There is a very interesting Bible study available – for free – called The Disciple that Jesus Loved and if you haven’t read it I recommend you do. Obviously being able to conquer death is the greatest wonder but we are also reminded that it was not physically possible to step out of the shroud by onesself.

        1. Oh nice, thanks for sharing. I will have to check out that book sometime. We all have things that bind us that keep us from being free. Only Christ can undo that sine He got the victory over death. Thanks again for sharing and also thanks for the comment.

  9. Jesus left the linens there to show that he had finished the work of atonement. He is our high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
    Leviticus 16:23
    23 “Then Aaron shall come into the tent of meeting and shall take off the linen garments that he put on when he went into the Holy Place and shall leave them there.

    1. Nice thanks the the comment and sharing your input Paul. The temple of the veil was also torn, all this shows that we don’t need to go to a priest to ask for forgiveness, we go directly to the source … Jesus Christ, who intercedes on our behalf to the Father.

  10. To begin, does the bible say that Jesus folded the burial clothes? did He roll away the stone? There were two angels sitting in the tomb prior to the apostles arival to the tomb, could they have folded the burial clothes and rolled the stone away from the tomb’s entrance? After all the Bible does say that He would give His angels charge over thee lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. In other words the angels are given the duty to serve and tend to the Christ and they would be very attentive to His every need and comfort like a personal nanny or servant hired to “minister” to an employer or his children.

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