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You see early on the Sunday morning following the crucifixion party, while still very, very dark, Mary Magdalene, using a candle to guide her, came to the tomb and found that the gigantic stone that resembled Washington on Rushmore, had been rolled away from the entrance.
Screeching in horror she ran to find Peter and Steve, the one whom Jesus loved. Apparently the J-man didn’t much care for the other disciples, most being winos, and traitors. So Mary, who was out of breath from running, told Steve: ‘They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and I don’t know where they have put him because my candle went out!’
Peter and Steve ran to the tomb to witness the aftermath of the miracle hoping to trade stories at the market and make a few bucks. The loved one outran Peter and got there first whereupon he stooped and looked in and saw the linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in, because it was dark inside and there might be bats. Steve and Peter were both scared to death of bats.
Then Peter who was actually called Simon back in his Jewish days, arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying to the side. He jumped for joy, not only because the napkin was folded but because there were no bats.
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 game. It was the one where the Master had to beat the Servant at least 10 times a day to win.
When the servant, usually hobbling from a day of beatings, set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it, which was understandable because if not he would be beaten…again.
So 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, or he would be beaten…again.
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…..he would be beaten … again. You see the whole folding of the napkin thing meant the master would return!
So, that’s the story of Jesus and the folded napkin trick. The big question is when Jesus came back did he fold another napkin to tell his followers he would once again, like General MacArthur, return or did he leave all his servants hanging?