Jeff Bartell

A "bottom line" kind of guy

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messy deskIn my recent sermon from John 20:1-18, I gave an overview of the events from the crucifixion, the burial and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, comparing all the gospel accounts as well as many other relevant references.  What I did not have time to do was to develop other thoughts from the text of John 20.  I would like to share something that I would have liked to share with you from John 20.

John 20:6-7  Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth 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.

This seems to me a strange fact that the Lord included in this story.  It makes me think of the 2 most ridiculous explanations which skeptics of the resurrection often quote.

1.  The SWOON theory – is the idea that Jesus didn’t actually DIE on the cross but just “fainted.”  They just thought he was dead and then laid him in the tomb.  After a few days of laying there (with half of his blood drained, no food or water!) the theory states that Jesus regained his strength, got up, moved the huge boulder that covered the tomb’s entrance, overcame the Roman battalion that guarded the tomb, and snuck away into the night.  This theory defies all logic and is obviously ridiculous.  We are to assume that Jesus “woke up”, unwrapped himself and then FOLDED the napkin that covered his face for the last 3 days and set it aside in a separate place.

2The STOLEN BODY theory – is the idea that the disciples came at night and stole Jesus’ body from the tomb to make it look like he was resurrected.  Remember that these disciples were common working men.  They would have had to overcome the battalion of trained Roman soldiers, whose lives were on the line to keep the tomb sealed.  They then would have moved the boulder away from the entrance and taken Jesus’ body.  Then, we are to believe that after pulling off the heist, the disciples then WILLINGLY pursued the rest of their lives in suffering and martyrdom – all for a LIE!  Oh yeah, and while they would have been doing this, they would have taken a minute to FOLD the napkin and set it in a separate place from the other burial clothes.  As Cris Carter says on Sports Center “C’MON MAN!”

No, the Bible account is the right one, as always.  Jesus DIED, was buried and ROSE again according to the scriptures!  All other feeble attempts to explain away the greatest miracle of human history are just sinful man’s way of soothing his defiled conscience, refusing to face the fact that he is a sinner in need of a Savior.  If you are that skeptic reading this, know that the Lord Jesus Christ still loves you enough to forgive you the moment you turn to him in faith.

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With all that He had gone through and all that He was about to do, Jesus still took the time to fold the napkin on his face and set it aside. Kinda makes you think He did that for a reason. Maybe for the reason you just stated.


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