Only The Linens
Before Mary took off to Connecticut to spend a week with half of our grandkids, she stripped our bed, washed the sheets, and then let them dry in the wind on our backyard’s retractable clothesline. Mary takes special care of our linens and loves the feel and smell of clean sheets dried in the sun and a gentle breeze. She would get pretty angry if I took our plain, everyday bed linens and cut them up in strips. But in the first century Jews did take fine linen, cut it into strips, and then used them in their burial procedure. Joseph of Arimathea used strips like this to wrap Jesus’ body after removing it from the cross. Women who had accompanied Jesus throughout His public ministry prepared aromatic spices and oils, and then waited out the Sabbath before they could use them to try and stifle the smell of death on their loved one. But they never got to use them.
“On the first day of the week at the first light of dawn the women came to the tomb bringing the aromatic spices they had prepared. Now they found the stone rolled away. On entering, they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they questioned what was going on, look, suddenly two men stood before them in dazzling raiment. The women became terrified and fell on their faces to the ground before them.
‘Why are you seeking the living among the dead? He is not here, but He’s risen. Remember what He told you while still with you in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, crucified, and on the third day arise. Remember His words.’
They returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to the rest. The women who made the report were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary, the mother of James, and the other women with them. The apostles, however, thought the women’s words were nonsense. They didn’t believe them, but Peter got up and ran to the tomb. He stooped down and saw only the linen strips. He left by himself wondering what had happened.” - Luke 24:1-12
Take a look on Sunday morning inside any other tomb where you had placed a body wrapped in strips of linen on Friday, and you could take out your anointing spices and get busy. Not this time. The women could have rubbed their sweet smells in the strips of linen, but there was no need. Jesus had escaped the smell of death forever. And this is the core truth of our biblical faith. He’s risen, just as He said.
LORD, use this resurrection certainty and the evidence of the linens left behind this week to pour hope and confidence into members of our Truth Encounter family who are battling cancer. Use the certainty of Jesus’ resurrection to strengthen their confidence that You have given them indestructible life. There’s nothing our Adversary can do to snatch this gift away.
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