In my Wednesday morning Bible study we are recently concluded a 3 year study of John. John is just an amazing Gospel. John is BIG on details. Not a verse, not a phrase, hardly a word in John is without deep meaning. In many ways, I will hate seeing this study conclude.
We lose much in the translation (no matter what translation you use) from the original Greek used by John. An example is John 20:8:
|Finally the other disciple (John), who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.|
As with many places in John, the word saw has more than one meaning.
It means, of course, that he saw with his eyes. What he saw was the burial clothing of Jesus and the facial cloth. He saw that they were lying as though the body had just evaporated out of them. (Kind of like a balloon that just loses its inflating air rather than one that has burst) This told John immediately that the body of Jesus had not been stolen. Grave robbers would have either taken the burial clothing with them or had to have torn them from the body. It would have been impossible for the burial clothing to have been left as John saw it had the body been removed by human hands.
|He saw and believed|
The word used in Greek for saw means understood. and it is not an “Oh, I get it now” understood. It’s instead a “Holy cow, eureka, why didn’t I get this before, jaw-dropping realization” understood. In the burial clothes, all became clear to John. All that Jesus had told him about the resurrection became clear to him. Because of this very moment John is often referred to as the “First Believer” in the resurrection of Christ Jesus.
In the synoptic Gospels, the writers say that Jesus was buried in a linen cloth. John very specifically points out that it was actually strips of linen that were used. It’s very similar to the wrapping of an Egyptian mummy. This contributed even more to John’s instant understanding. Let’s take that balloon and wrap it in strips of cloth and then let it deflate. What would remain would be very different from if the balloon had burst!
The Shroud of Turin
This has very important implications for the Shroud of Turin. IF John is to be believed, the Shroud could not have been the burial cloth of Jesus. The Shroud is a single piece of linen, not strips. The strips do comply with common Jewish burial practices of the time.
Alive in The Word