Esteemed Jewish scholar Simon Greenleaf, founder of Harvard Law School, meant to use his “laws of evidence” to challenge the theory of the resurrection, and became a believer.
John 20:6-8 – “Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie…then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and HE SAW, and believed.”
MARY THOUGHT THE BODY WAS STOLEN.
Then very early on Sunday morning, Peter and John heard from Mary Magdalene that the body of Jesus, placed in the sepulcher on Friday afternoon, was no longer there. Mary assumed the body was stolen, saying: “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him.” Her conclusion was that enemies had taken it away.
Instantly the two apostles ran to the sepulcher – John arrived first. And he, “stooping down and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying, yet went not in.” But Peter “following him, went into the sepulcher, and sees the linen clothes lie, and the napkin that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.”
After which John also went in, “and he saw and believed.”
WHAT DID JOHN SEE IN THE GRAVE CLOTHES THAT WE MISSED?
When Peter and John entered the sepulcher, they did not see the body of Jesus; but they did see the grave clothes. And they saw the clothes in a certain order.
John covers the exact arrangement of the clothes. It is the sole purpose of nine verses of the Gospel history. Why so great a detailed account? Because it was important!
It was the linen strips that caused him to believe. Scripture clearly tells us that when John “saw the arrangement of the grave clothes, he believed, beyond all doubt, that Jesus was risen.”
These grave garments were arranged in a unique way. When John saw “the linen clothes lying,” he believed. The word “lying” does not merely refer to the fact that they were “remaining on the floor of the sepulcher,” but rather, the word used, means that they were “lying precisely as the body had lain in them.” The grave clothes were in exactly the position the body had occupied.
LINEN THAT COULDN’T LIE
“Linen clothes” refer to the manner in which they prepared the body for burial in that day. They would wrap the body with a wide long cloth, somewhat like a bandage is applied to an injured leg or arm; the wrappings continued until they reached the neck.
This was the method they used to prepare the body of Jesus for burial. Like a giant bondage, these wrappings were wound around the body of our Lord, beginning at
the feet, and ending at the head. John saw these “linen clothes lying” undisturbed, just as they had been when the body of Jesus lay within them, but now there was no body, the linen clothes were empty!
John 19:39-40 tells us that Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea brought about a 100 pounds of myrrh and aloes spices and wound the body of Jesus in the cloth wrappings with the spices. As they wrapped the cloth strip around and around Jesus’ body, they poured in 100 pounds of spices into the wrappings and upon the body.
LIQUID SPICES SETTLED AND SOLIDIFIED AROUND THE BODY SHAPE
All these liquid spices would soon harden and would cause the cloth wrappings to become an encrusted cocoon around the body of Jesus. All the wrappings followed the contours of the body; it would be a tight solid covering that would protect the body, and from which the body could not be pulled by any human means. The only way, humanly speaking, a body could be removed from such encrusted wrappings, would be by cutting the cloth from end to end and laying back each side so the body could be pulled from its wrappings.
PROOF – THE BODY COULD NOT HAVE BEEN STOLEN
It is inconceivable that the body had been stolen, and that enemies would have spent the time to abstract the body from the clothes and so arrange them as to look like a body was still there. Who would do that and why?
When the disciples saw the “linen clothes lying” –- uncut, undisturbed, lying just as they had been, yet they were empty –- it convinced them that the body had been
miraculously, supernaturally removed. Had some human hand stolen the body, he would have been forced to slit open the bindings in order to remove the body.
Likewise, Greenleaf concluded, HAD JESUS REVIVED AND EXITED THE TOMB HE COULD NOT HAVE LEFT THE WRAPPING UNDISTURBED.
The Greek words translated, “wrapped together” in John 20:7, actually mean, “twisted together” or “rolled up” –- it speaks of a fixed position – much like a cocoon. The linen cloths were “wrapped” or “rolled together,” however the body was missing. The “linen clothes” had not been unfolded, loosed or disturbed in any way! They just lay there! An empty shell of the linen clothes that had been wrapped around and around the body of Jesus.
THE COCOON WAS EMPTY…
The tomb was empty…
What do you think?