The Folded Veil on Jesus Face
John 20:1–18 Now very early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been moved away from the entrance. 20:2 So she went running to Simon Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 20:3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out to go to the tomb. 20:4 The two were running together, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and reached the tomb first. 20:5 He bent down and saw the strips of linen cloth lying there, but he did not go in. 20:6 Then Simon Peter, who had been following him, arrived and went right into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen cloth lying there, 20:7 and the face cloth, which had been around Jesus’ head, not lying with the strips of linen cloth but rolled up in a place by itself. 20:8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, came in, and he saw and believed. 20:9 (For they did not yet understand the scripture that Jesus must rise from the dead.) 20:10 So the disciples went back to their homes. 20:11 But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she bent down and looked into the tomb. 20:12 And she saw two angels in white sitting where Jesus’ body had been lying, one at the head and one at the feet. 20:13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” Mary replied, “They have taken my Lord away, and I do not know where they have put him!” 20:14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 20:15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” Because she thought he was the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will take him.” 20:16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni” (which means Teacher).
We Must Feel the Perplexing Expectation of All History which is seen in the surprise events on the “first day of the week” (v1) at the tomb (v2). Mary is representative in her fearful and alarmed response to the apparent loss of the dead body of Jesus. But all of history had been expecting the transformation of death because of the covenant promises of the Lord.
We Should Understand the Removal of the Veil of Death on the body of Christ which is a curious rabbit trail in John’s text (v6-7). The most important event of human history is described in this chapter and several verses are spent in observing the placement of the wrappings of the corpse? “And the face cloth, which had been around Jesus’ head, not lying with the strips of linen cloth but rolled up in a place by itself” (v7). This fulfills a theme in John 11 as well as the prophetic words of Isaiah 25:7.
We Must Embrace the Restoration of the Garden Way which is a theme that culminates in the encounter of Mary with the risen Lord (v14ff). The Gospel of John reveals Jesus through a series of signs, seven + one. This culminates in this scene at when Mary Magdalene (Luke 8:2) stands as the Bride, symbolizing the Church, and is sent as the “apostle” to the Apostles proclaiming to them that Jesus, the Bridegroom, the Last Adam is risen. Jesus resurrection restores creation by making a “Garden-way” back to the presence of the Father (v17).
1. New Creator: Water into wine (2:1-11)
2. Redeemer/Healer: The official's son (4:46ff)
3. True Sabbath: The paralyzed man at the pool (5:2-9)
4. Bread of Life: Multiplication of loaves (6:1-14)
5. Light of the World: The man born blind (9:1-7)
6. Resurrection & Life: The raising of Lazarus (11:1-44)
7. Living Water: The cross (19:1-37)
8. New Adam/Gardener: The resurrection (20:1-29)
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more