Summary: There is a lot to be learned from folded clothes!
(An Easter Sermon)
SCRIPTURE : "Then cometh Simon Peter following him and went into the sepulcher and seeth the linen clothes, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulcher, and he saw, and believed."
There is a lot to be learned from folded clothes!
Folding clothes s one of those chores that many of us would prefer to avoid because it is time consuming and tedious. But how we fold our clothes gives us a hint of our personality and lifestyle.
Those who are demanding and exact in life, also fold their clothes the same way. These are those who carefully see to it that towels are neatly folded, wrinkle free and are stacked and arranged by size. The demanding person folds shirts and blouses with sleeves tucked, buttons buttoned and collars up. Their socks must be neatly tucked inside of each other, unless they have military training, then the socks will be rolled up, one on top of the other and tucked neatly on the end. There are still some among our seniors that feel uneasy if sheets and pillowcases are stored without being starched and ironed. To those of that generations, folding clothes also meant pressing and ironing.
There are others not so demanding. Rather than fold socks they tie them together, some don’t even bother to match them, they simply search through the close hamper when they need them. Many today don’t worry about ironing sheets, they stretch them across the bed and press when they sleep on them. Folding shirts and tee shirts is a matter of folding in the sleeves and folding them in half, buttoning buttons is a waste of time.
Some don’t bother to fold or put up clothes at all, they simply throw them over a chair, or a bedpost or stack them on a table. Some just throw clothes anywhere. Certainly that tells a story.
The way we fold or leave our clothes gives testimony to our lifestyle and sometimes our peculiar persuasions about life.
On the morning of the resurrection the disciples came to the tomb, looking for Jesus. They looked for him but he was not there, he had risen from the dead.
What they found was Jesus’ burial clothes and the spices used to anoint his body; the clothes were neatly separated, wrapped and folded, as if borrowed for a few nights and returned.
There is a lot to be learned from Jesus’ folded clothes, they were his last will and testimony. Peter looked at the folded burial clothes and saw that they had been patiently and carefully wrapped without haste. Something about what he saw convinced him that Jesus as alive, and Peter, like many after, believed in the resurrection.
Today, the empty tomb, the empty cross, and the folded clothes are reminders to Christians that Jesus is certainly alive today.
We did not see the folded clothes or the empty tomb and yet we still believe.
We know that Jesus lives, because he lives within our hearts.
Our text first considers the first of two accounts of the events immediately following the resurrection of Jesus. The other account is in Luke 24.
Jesus had been in the grave for three days and three nights and in the dawn of the first day of the Week several women came to the gravesite to complete his burial dressings. They had hurriedly wrapped him in a shroud with sweet smelling spices, and placed a traditional napkin over his face because the special, middle of the week, Sabbath was approaching.
When they arrived at the tomb they found it empty and ran to tell the disciples that his body had been stolen. Hearing what the women said, two of his disciples, Peter and John, ran to the tomb. On their arrival they found what the women found … an empty tomb and folded clothes. Although the two men saw the same thing, they drew contrasting opinions about what they meant.
Luke 24;12 says Peter’s reaction involved six steps he : arose, ran, stooped, saw, departed, and WONDERED. Peter’s immediate reaction at the tomb was not one of excited faith, but of doubt. HE WONDERED.
He saw an empty tomb and folded clothes and was not sure about the resurrection. Robbers could have caused the empty tomb, but the folded clothes was another matter. If the Scribes and Pharisees had stolen Jesus’ body to prevent his disciples from claiming his resurrection, it would have been callous of them to strip the body naked and fold up the clothes and leave a suggestion that he left on his own power. Peter, however, saw the empty tomb and folded clothes and wondered.