“and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself” John 20:7 NKJV
I certainly had read this verse before, but when I read it this past Easter/Pentecost season, it was as if it leaped up off the page at me. Jesus had died a brutal death on the cross and had been laid in a cold, dark tomb. Three days later when Jesus came back to life, He takes the time to fold the handkerchief before exiting the tomb??? I think I would have jumped up, ran out, busting the place wide open, declaring boldly to the enemy, “Take that!” But not Jesus. He calmly, intentionally took the time to fold the handkerchief and laid it aside to itself, separate from the other grave clothes. On the cross, He had cried out, “It is finished!” as He breathed His last. Jesus had become the ultimate sacrifice for sin, once and for all. As I read the passage from John 20, the folding of the handkerchief seems to be another declaration and a crying out, this time over death. With each fold of that handkerchief, such a statement of authority, such an act of power. This time a silent, yet equally profound, crying out, “It is finished!” conquering death itself.
There seems to be such resolve and intentionality in this seemingly simple act. It caused me to reflect in my own life. When I accepted Jesus as my Savior, it was as if my old self died and I became a new person. Well, that’s the way it’s supposed to be! I don’t know about you, but some days it’s hard to keep the old self “dead” in order to live my new life in Christ! For me, and I think for most of us, we would do well if we exercised the same resolve and intentionality that Jesus did to take the time to fold up that handkerchief of death we once wore around our head and lay it aside once and for all! God showed me, even after all these years of walking with Him, there are still things I have a tendency to “wear” and identify with that are not mine anymore. There are still things that should be reckoned “dead” in my life that are all too alive and well. There are still things I will not lay aside in order to take hold of what He has for me. There are still things in my life I will not exercise my God-given authority over. UGH! I cry out just like Paul did who wrote, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25 NKJV) Jesus isn’t just the Sunday School answer. Jesus really is it for me!!! Not only did Jesus die for my sins. Not only did Jesus conquer death for me. Jesus is the One Who daily helps me fold and lay aside my own handkerchief!!!