Those linen cloths lying there. John 20:6

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Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
From - R. Lenski on John

John 20:6 (ISJG) Simon Peter, therefore, also comes, following him, and went into the tomb and beholds the linen bands lying, and the cloth, which was upon his head, not lying together with the linen bands but apart, having been folded up, in a place by itself.

Those who think of Peter’s feeling of guilt as slowing up his speed in running to the tomb must make him forget this when he now arrives at the tomb, for he steps right in. The same sight greets his eyes: τὸ ὀθόνια κείμενα, which John repeats, reversing participle and noun. This is the astounding phenomenon: “the linen bands lying.” Nothing whatever had been done with them, they were merely lying. We are not to imagine that they had been unwound from the body as was done with the grave bands of Lazarus when he came to life. Neither had they been cut or stripped off in some other way. They lay just as they had been wound about the limbs and the body, only the body was no longer in them, and thus the wrappings lay flat. All the aromatic spices were exactly as they had been strewn between the layers of linen, and these layers, one wound over the other, were numerous, so that all those spices could be held between them.

For his own glance from the door John writes βλέπει, “he sees”; for Peter standing inside close beside the casket-like place in which the linen bands lay John writes θεωρεῖ, “he beholds,” “he views.” Peter stood there, looking and looking at those bands.

No human being wrapped round and round with bands like this could possibly slip out of them without greatly disturbing them. They would have to be unwound, or cut through, or cut and stripped off. They would thus, if removed, lie strewn around in disorder or heaped in a pile, or folded up in some way. If the body had been desecrated in the tomb by hostile hands, this kind of evidence would appear. But hostile hands would have carried off the body as it was, wrappings and all, to get it away as soon as possible and to abuse it later and elsewhere. But here the linen bands were. Both their presence and their undisturbed condition spoke volumes. Here, indeed, was a sign to behold. It corroborated what the women had told Peter and John on the way out to the tomb: Jesus was risen from the dead!
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