I’ll Be Back

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And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.” — John 20:7, KJV

I’ll be back. It’s a common, everyday phrase.

If you saw “The Terminator,” you will remember that it was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s famous quote in the movie.

How often have you left home and told those remaining, “I’ll be back”?

In today’s passage, John tells us that the napkin used to cover our Savior’s head was lying by itself, separate from the other burial clothes.

It has been rumored that folding the napkin at the table is a Jewish custom, meaning the person folding the napkin intends to return.[1] However, there is no factual evidence of this custom.

Nonetheless, let’s imagine that the rumor is not circumstantial evidence. If it were true, the messages behind the clues would be significant.

The first clue is that the burial clothes are lying in a separate place. This simple act would reveal that Jesus was sending the message that His first assignment was finished, confirming that He had completed what the Father sent Him to do.

Finally, the significance of the second clue — the head cloth wrapped together in a place by itself. This simple gesture is where Jesus tells all those left behind, present and future, “I’ll be back.”

He said, “…I go and prepare a place for you; I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3, NIV). This one statement is the hope of every Christian: going to be where Jesus is.

The Father intended for the Son to come, leave, only to return. Jesus knew this. And for the short time that He was on earth, He taught and prepared those with Him for that moment.

Jesus may not physically be with us now to prepare us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be ready for His return. The keys to our preparation are simple.

First, we have books within a book, sixty-six to be exact, where we can learn of Him. Secondly, we are privileged to have His spirit — the Holy Spirit — live inside us, leading and guiding us into all truths. Thirdly, we have a communication line that can never be interrupted, where we can talk to Him at any time or place, we choose.

In Romans 10:9, Paul said if we have a knowing within our hearts and our confessions are true, the promise of eternity is ours.

The signs that Jesus left for His disciples are valid for us today. If we can find hope in the premise of the folded napkin, we can rest assured that He will be back.


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[1] What is the significance of the folded napkin in Christ’s tomb after the resurrection? | GotQuestions.org. https://www.gotquestions.org/folded-napkin.html