September 2019

If you’ve been with us for awhile, we’ve been going over what has been called ‘The 6 Miracles Of Calvary’. The first 4 of these which occurred at the time of the Crucifixion were 1) The darkness, 2) The rending of the veil, 3) The miraculous earthquake, and 4) The opened tombs.

Sooo….. where do we go from here? Glad you asked. We’ll be touching base here for a minute or two in # 4, then moving on to #5, which is ‘The raising of the saints’. Well now, what in the world are we getting’ into now?? What it’s not is another ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ from channel 45. What it happens to be is yet another example of a Holy God going to all the trouble, if you will, of getting’ our attention by means of a ‘Supernatural’ event, and blowin’ the top off our tent in the process!  

I think we’ll re-visit God’s Word at Matthew 27:52,53 where it says, “ …. And the tombs were opened; and many bodies of saints who had fallen asleep (died) were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city (Jerusalem) and appeared to many”.

OK….let’s park here for a minute and take a look at what’s happening. Last time we had determined that the ‘saints’ referred to here are no more or less than those folks who are Christian believers by virtue of their connection with Jesus Christ, and not necessarily  with man’s organizations, etc.

And, looking a little closer, the verse says,”…and many bodies of the saints….”. It says “many” not ‘all’. However many there were, it was obviously enough to get everyone’s attention.

So, here we are, at the exact moment that Christ died ( “..yielded up His spirit…”) on the cross, the tombs were opened, and the bodies of the saints were raised, but they don’t move out of the tombs until Christ is resurrected…….on the 3rd day. Then, they came out of their tombs and walked; not by mans’ hands did they walk; but by the One’s hand did they move. As one preacher/teacher has put it….every week…. It’s Supernatural ! Well sir, we knew that already, didn’t we? We also know that God loves us….all of us.. all the time,,,everywhere….. If anything is Supernatural, that sure is!

From here we’re going straight into God’s Miracle # 6, the ‘Miracle of the Undisturbed Grave Clothes of Jesus’; Long title and even longer study. That’s OK. We’ll cover what we have space for.

How about  we  start with what is recorded in John 20:3-8 as it occurred early in the morning of the 3rd day ( or, the 1st day of the week) ; “ Peter therefore went forth, and the other disciple (John), and they were going to the  tomb. And the two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter, and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there, but did not go in.

Simon Peter therefore also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he beheld the linen wrappings lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on His (Jesus) head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. Then entered in the other disciple (John) also, who had first come to the tomb, and he saw and believed”.      
So what do we have here? It looks like the sole purpose of these verses is to show us what state or arrangement Jesus’ grave clothes were in and what effect that had on John and Peter. The grave clothes (or linens) were “lying there”, apparently untouched, and the napkin (or cloth) for His head being “in a place by itself”,and wrapped together(or folded).

Now, you’re probably thinking, “ So what!?” Looking at this from our vantage point 20 centuries later, we just don’t quite get it. It might help to learn a little about the Jewish burial traditions of that day.

When we look we find that soon after death the deceased was washed thoroughly, and then he was wrapped in linen strips. Starting at the feet, and wrapping the legs together, they would work their way up, wrapping the hands and arms tight to the torso, then work  on up to the neck and stop there.

Instead of wrapping the head and neck, they would tie a square napkin or cloth around the head to protect it.

The kicker here is that the folks who were charged with this prep work, would bring with them some aromatic spices and a sticky gooey substance known as Myrrh , usually about 100 lbs worth. (Some references say 75 lbs,). The preppers would use this mixture to apply to each wrapping as they went. When all was said and done, the mixture would harden into a cocoon that completely encased the body.

We are told in John 19;39,40 that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were the two men who had prepared the body of our Lord for burial and that they had brought about a 100lbs worth of this mixture with them to get the job done. So, when John and Peter “saw and believed”, it was for a sound reason. It would have been humanly impossible for someone to remove the body from a casing like this without ‘disturbing’ it big time.

In John 20:9 it says, “ For as  yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead”. Now, having seen, they believed in the resurrection of Christ.

             If you don’t mind, here’s one more goody to chew on, and it involves the   ‘wrapped’(folded) napkin. In the Hebrew tradition of that day, the ‘folded napkin’ had to do with the Master and his servant. The servant would set the Master’s dinner table in a prescribed manner, according to instructions, then wait off to the side, just out of sight, until the Master was finished eating. The Master would then get up to leave, and if he just tossed his napkin on the table, then that signaled that he was done. But, if he folded his napkin and laid it beside his plate, then that meant, “I’m not finished yet. I’m coming back!”

            Jesus ( the Master) has told us He’s coming back…..will you be ready? He’s always knocking at the door…the door of your heart. Confess—repent—believe---and receive forgiveness, salvation and an eternity in Glory.                    Romans 3:23, 6:23, 10:9,13,17

        Can I get a HALLELUJAH !!

                 WANTED ……MORE  BIKERS  IN HEAVEN !!!

Dan Benson
Chaplain - CMA, NMRM Assn

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