Jesus Didn’t Stumble from the Tomb

jesus-resurrection
What does it look like to rise from the dead?

We’ve all seen the TV dramas in the operating room when the heart monitor suddenly goes flat with the ominous and unceasing tone. Then the shock paddles are brought in and the formerly and technically dead person is brought back to life. Maybe it’s like that – jolts running through the body.

Or maybe it’s like another scene where someone has taken in too much water and then dragged to shore. CPR and mouth to mouth are performed, and with a cough and a gurgle, breath eventually returns. Maybe it’s like that – sudden convulsions and gasping.

Or maybe it’s the way most of us feel on a particularly early morning when the alarm clock goes off. We jump out of sleep, but as we switch the light on it’s near blinding and it takes a few moments to rub the sleep out of your eyes. You have a sense of weakness in your hands and fingers as the blood starts to get going again until you can eventually stagger to the bathroom to turn on the shower. Maybe it’s like that, only greater – you need a couple of hours to regain control of your faculties and get some strength to just sit up.

But something tells me that Jesus didn’t stumble out of the tomb. Something tells me He didn’t cough and gurgle or need the blood flow to return to His extremities on Easter Sunday morning. Sure, His death was messy. Undignified. Bloody. Gruesome. Embarrassing even. But His resurrection? That was different.

I love the fact that John, right in the middle of His Easter morning account, drops a little detail into the narrative that not only describes the resurrection of Jesus, but helps us see it. Feel it. We see Mary coming to the tomb – hopeless and despondent, her faith dying with Jesus. We hear the night sounds starting to fade as the sun begins to rise. We sense the stillness – the emptiness – of the air. We see her tears and feel the crushing weight of her even greater grief, if that were possible, as she discovers in the darkness of the morning the stone rolled away. We hear her shrill cries as she sobs out her testimony to Simon Peter and John that grave robbers have come and stolen the body. Then comes the running.

We hear the panting. We feel the hot breath. We see the younger of the two outrun the older. Then, by the first rays of light, we see along with first John and then Peter, that the tomb is indeed empty. That’s when we get the detail:

“The wrapping that had been on His head was not lying with the linen cloths but was folded up in a separate place by itself” (John 20:7).

It’s a curious little detail to include, don’t you think? John was there; he saw the whole thing. It’s possible that the memory was so ingrained into him that he wanted to record every last detail. Or maybe the detail is included, as John Chrysostom thought, to give evidence that this was no grave robbery: “If anyone had removed the body, he would not have stripped it first, nor would he have taken the trouble to remove and roll up the napkin and put it in a place by itself.” No indeed.

But maybe too, buried in this little detail, is a commentary about the nature of the risen Lord. Jesus was raised to life, and when He was, He took on the dignity befitting Him. He simply got up in an unhurried manner. Like the Lord of All Creation that He is, He took a few moments to put things in order, even going so far as doing something like making His bed. Jesus didn’t stagger and stumble, bleary-eyed and numb from the coils of death; He rose as a conquering hero. And He strode out of the tomb at an unhurried pace into creation like He owned the place. Because He does.

This is not like the resurrection of Lazarus who Jesus reached into death after. Just a few chapters earlier in this gospel, he came out of the grave “bound hand and foot with linen strips and with his face wrapped in a cloth” (John 11:44). Jesus Himself gave the order to “loose him and let him go” because Lazarus couldn’t do it himself. He couldn’t fold his own head wrapping, but Jesus could. And He did.

He took a few moments to give us a little glimpse into the fact that centuries before the cross and the tomb, creation was broken by sin. It was set in a spiral of disorder where up was down and left was right. Everything was flipped on its head, but when He stepped out of the tomb, He announced to that broken creation that He was setting everything back the way it was always supposed to be. Out of disorder and into order. Out of death and into life. Out of brokenness and into wholeness. And maybe – just maybe – that reordering started with that simple act of taking what might have otherwise been a wrinkled, tattered mess, and folding it up neatly.

Then He walked out into the light…

By Michael Kelley


According to Jewish tradition, if a dinner guest leaves the table, but plans to return, the napkin is folded neatly and placed beside the plate to tell the servants not to clear the place. If the guest is finished eating and will not return, the napkin is crumpled and placed on the plate, as a signal to the servants to clear the place. By folding the napkin neatly, Jesus is telling his servants, the church, he will be returning.

The Lordship of Jesus

Philippians 2:5-11

Whether you’ve been a believer for many years or just recently trusted Christ as your Savior, there’s one crucial thing you must settle in your heart. Many Christians understand that Jesus died on the cross for their sins. But who is He today?

Scripture tells us that Jesus is the incarnate Son of God who took on flesh and entered our world in the form of a servant. He came to walk among us and make it possible to know Him. Then after His death, burial, and resurrection, He was exalted back to His rightful place as Lord and sovereign Ruler.

It’s essential that every believer understand the person and position of Jesus Christ. We often call Him “Lord,” but what does that mean? The answer is that as Lord and Creator, He made and sustains all things (Col. 1:16-17). And by trusting in the Savior, we accept His rightful place in our life.

As Lord, He has authority over every single element of our daily lives. We are sheep, and who should follow the Shepherd; going our own way, we’d fall off the mountain and end up destroyed (John 10:2-15). Won’t you acknowledge that He has the right to determine what you do and where you go? You can trust that His way always results in fullness of life.

Jesus is not some distant, judgmental ruler; He’s your awesome, supportive Lord, who loves you and has gone before you, having lived a human life and suffered unimaginably. So when He says, “Follow Me; I’ll make your life count,” you can be confident that He is trustworthy every step of the way.

Four Cosmologies

“Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (2 Peter 3:13)

The cosmos consists of “all things”—every system, every structure, every organism, every process, everything—in heaven and in Earth. Cosmology is the system and study of the whole cosmos. In his final epistle, the apostle Peter outlines four different cosmologies. One is false; the other three are each true but at different times in history.

The false cosmology is that of evolutionary uniformitarianism, the doctrine taught by latter-day intellectuals who will scoff: “Where is the promise of his coming? . . . all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:4). But this is altogether wrong! The first cosmos—the heavens and the earth which were “of old . . . the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (2 Peter 3:5-6). The primeval cosmos, in which “every thing that he had made . . . was very good” (Genesis 1:31), was destroyed in the waters of the great Flood.

The present cosmos, “the heavens and the earth, which are now . . . reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:7). This “present evil world” (Galatians 1:4) was to last many a long year, but “the day of the Lord will come . . . in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise . . . the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10).

But then, out of the ashes of the old corrupt world, so to speak, God will make a new and incorruptible world. “We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13).

That cosmos will continue forever! “The new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 66:22). HMM

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.—Revelation 3:20.

O LOVE Divine!—whose constant beam
Shines on the eyes that will not see,
And waits to bless us, while we dream
Thou leavest us because we turn from Thee.
J. G. WHITTIER.

UNHAPPY spirit, cast down under thy sins, multitudes of sins, years of sins!— heavily burdened as thou art, and pierced through with sorrows, thou mayest look to God, and hope, for “He delighteth in mercy” His mercy can make thee a clean and beautiful, a happy and rejoicing spirit. God will be “delighted” to make thee “equal to the angels.” So humble, so loving is thy God, and so earnestly does He long to bless thee, that behold, He stands at thy door and knocks. JOHN PULSFORD.

And if God knocks continually at the heart of man, desiring to enter in and sup there, and to communicate to him His gifts, who can believe that when the heart opens and invites Him to enter, He will become deaf to the invitation, and refuse to come in? LORENZO SCUPOLI.

Great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell

Great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell. Psalm 86:13

Fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins, — They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: for the redemption of their soul is precious. — I have found a ransom. — God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ.

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Matthew 10:28. Isaiah 43:1,11,25. Psalm 49:6-8. Job 33:24. Ephesians 2:4,5. Acts 4:12.

If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish

If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will. And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. Leviticus 1:3,4

God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering. — Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. — We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. — A ransom for many.

No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. —I will love them freely. — The Son of God … loved me and gave himself for me.

He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. —He hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Genesis 22:8. John 1:29. Hebrews 10:10. Matthew 20:28. John 10:18. Hosea 14:4. Galatians 2:20. 2 Corinthians 5:21. Ephesians 1:6.