The Message of the Grave Clothes
John 19:38 - 20:8
Intro: This month we are celebrating the Crowning Day of Christ’s Life and ministry; Easter- Resurrection Sunday! Thank God we know that Jesus Christ is ALIVE!
Every other religious leader and every other founder of a religion died and remained in the tomb; Jesus Died but Rose Again by the Power of God and is Eternally Alive.
That first Easter Sunday morning was an Amazing Day full of drama and emotion and full of Divine Power. Mary Magdalene was the very first one to reach the tomb of Jesus on that glorious day. She had come out of great love and devotion and along with other women desired to further anoint the body of the Lord. When she arrived, she saw that the stone had been removed. She immediately ran from the Garden in fear and went directly to Peter and John and she told them breathlessly that the Body of Jesus had been taken away from the tomb and no one knew where they had put it.
[That was her first thought and reaction; she did not immediately realize that Jesus had risen from the dead and was alive; she assumed that either the Jewish leaders or the Roman authorities had moved the body of Jesus from the garden tomb to another location]
Of course, Peter and John were shocked by the news and they also began to Run. They Ran Toward the Garden and John reached the tomb first. He bent down and looked inside and here’s what he testifies that he saw: he “saw the linen clothes lying.” However, John just looked in, he didn’t actually go in at this point. Peter came rushing up and he pushed past John and actually went Into the Tomb. There he also saw the Linen Clothes lying, AND the napkin that had been wrapped around the Lord’s head was “wrapped together in a place by itself.”
Let’s think about the Message of the Grave Clothes.
I. It is a Message of Power.
When John and Peter saw those Grave Clothes, they knew something unusual had happened. The grave clothes were All there, even the napkin that had been wrapped around his head; BUT his Body was definitely Gone!
John doesn’t give any more details, but this is the way I think it looked. I believe the linen clothes were still wound just as they had been done by Joseph & Nicodemus; they may have still held some of their shape but the Body that had been inside them was no longer there. I believe that Jesus resurrected to eternal life Right Through the Grave Clothes. After all, he passed through the stone walls of the tomb and it was certainly less difficult to pass right through the grave clothes.
Talk about Divine Power! God raised up Jesus from the dead from the Inside Out. He came alive and passed through the grave clothes on his way out of the tomb.
Let me remind you that with as much as we Do know about God, we have not Begun to Scratch the Surface of Under Standing His Great Power! Paul said in 1 Cor. 6:14 that God raised Jesus from the dead by His Own Power. In Rom. 6:4 Paul said Christ was raised from the dead by the Glory of the Father. In Phil. 3:10 Paul spoke of the “Power of his resurrection.”
No other event in History manifested the Power of God in a Greater Way; Not creation; not the parting of the Red Sea; not the Sun standing still; not the earthquake on Calvary and the torn veil. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead was a Mighty Act of God’s Power.
II. It is a Message of Peace
I love this scene: Mary was frantic; Peter and John were rushing about and out of breath; their minds were in turmoil; they reached the tomb and when they looked inside there were No Signs of Violence; no Signs of Terror; no Signs of Burglary; no signs of Disorder or Confusion.
The linen clothes were lying still wrapped in the form they were in. They were not torn to pieces and strewn all over the tomb. The tomb did not look the room of a teen age boy. It did not look like a fight had taken place. There was no evidence that anyone came to steal the body of the Lord. If anyone came to steal it, would they not take it IN THE GRAVE CLOTHES? No one would remove the linen grave clothes, remove the body, then Rewrap the linens!
The empty tomb was a Peaceful Place. Even the Napkin had been carefully wrapped up and laid aside in another place. The Risen Lord will bring Order to your life; not disorder.
The Lord will bring Contentment to your Life; not Confusion.
The Lord will bring Direction to your life; not Disarray.
Some of you are living lives of confusion; lives of discontentment; lives of disorder and chaos.
You blame a lot factors for it but at the bottom line; its because Jesus is not where he needs to be and ought to be in your life. When Jesus comes; Peace comes. After all one of his Titles is “Prince of Peace.” Even his tomb was a place of peace.
III. It is a Message of Promise
One commentator said that the Folded Napkin was a sign that said, “I am not Finished, I’m just away for the moment but I will be Back.” I like that analogy; for it certainly fits with what Jesus promised before he ever died. As he tried to prepare his disciples for his death and departure back to heaven, he assured them that he was going to prepare a place for them, AND that he would come back for them and receive them to himself; that where he was- there they would be also.
Thank God, the work of Jesus Christ is not done! Not only is he sitting at the right hand of the Father right now interceding for us, he is Coming Again for us. The last recorded words of Jesus in the Bible are these in Rev. 22:20: “Surely, I come quickly.” Just as Jesus promised his disciples that he would be crucified and buried and would rise again on the third day, He also promised that he would come again in the clouds.
Paul described the Rapture like this: The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout; with the voice of the arch angel and the trump of God. The dead in Christ shall rise first and then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, Comfort one another with these words!
There is great comfort in the promises of our Lord. He lived, he died, he resurrected from the dead and he lives today; And he is coming again.
Celebrate! The tomb is empty; Jesus is Alive.
Bro. Dwain Galiher
Pastor of JHPC