Thursday, 9 April 2009

folded napkin (John 20:7)

a friend emailed the reb and asked whether there was such a hebrew tradition of folding the napkin and whether this hebrew tradition is to be used to interpret john 20:7. the email is quoted below in italics:


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

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 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 out ran 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.

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 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 was done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers and mouth with that napkin and toss it on to 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 knew that the folded napkin meant, 'I'm not finished yet.'

The folded napkin meant, 'I'm coming back!'



so, the reb did some investigative work and whoalah! it is an urban legend.
see below:

and that quote came from a sermon by a baptist guy called jerry shirley! see below:

the reb and colleague myhomilia had a good laugh over it.


Kar Yong said...

Hahaha.....the last time we had a good laugh is over a baptist preacher who preached about pissing the walls! Baptist again??

Jim said...

not all baptists are imbeciles.

anthony said...

true, jim. but have you not seen the video about the baptist preacher who did an eisegesis about 'he that pisseth against the wall'?