I had always wondered about John’s Gospel for Easter Sunday. John details that the napkin was folded separately from the burial cloths. Is there any reason/meaning for this detail in the Gospel?
The napkin (or face cloth) would have been put on Jesus’ face and head as he was was taken down from the cross. This cloth would have absorbed much of the blood on the face and head. When Jesus was placed in the burial shroud, the face cloth would have been removed. Since blood is sacred to the Jews, the napkin would have been placed in the tomb with the shroud wrapped body of Jesus, and buried with him.
This has been discussed at length here, (another Catholic Answers thread), but unfortunately there is no solid conclusion.
However, in this chnnetwork thread, there is a very good compilation of commentaries from The Navarre Bible, the Haydock Bible, and the Catena Aurea. Nevertheless, they don’t appear to agree completely on the reason.
The Greek meaning is AFAIK closer to ‘rolled up’ or ‘twirled’ rather than ‘folded’. (One idea is that it’s actually a sort of chin band used to tie up the face to keep the jaw from sagging.) The traditional explanation is that the grave cloths were left where they were and as they were, as if Jesus simply passed through them, showing that Jesus’ body wasn’t stolen by thieves or hastily removed from the tomb; otherwise the grave cloths wouldn’t be there or would be left unkempt. It’s not like the supposed thieves would go all the trouble to tidy up the cloths and rearrange them in their original positions.
I wonder where he got the clothes He had after rising.
Angelic delivery service.