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John 20:7

ESV and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.
NIV as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus' head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen.
NASB and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings but folded up in a place by itself.
CSB 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.
NLT while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings.
KJV And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

What does John 20:7 mean?

Jesus was hastily buried (John 19:42) but given the basic dignity of being wrapped in linen before being sealed into a borrowed tomb (John 19:39–40). This wrapping is the same which Jesus had asked for others to remove from Lazarus after that miracle (John 11:44). John has waited outside the tomb, while Peter walks in to investigate (John 20:1–6). Along with the now-empty linen strips, he sees something even more unusual.

The cloth designated for Jesus' face is placed off to the side, away from the other burial clothes. It's not casually thrown or crumpled, either. It's been folded. That, also, would be confusing if this was the work of grave robbers. To strip the body naked before taking it would be bizarre (John 20:6). Taking the time and effort to fold the face cloth would be even stranger.

A common claim about this face cloth involves a dinner custom in Jesus' era. According to this legend, a person seated at dinner would signal to servants using that cloth. If the person left the cloth in a certain way, it meant they were finished. Another arrangement meant they were coming back. The common legend about the face cloth is that it was twisted into some symbolic arrangement: a physical message literally meaning "I will return." Though this is a popular and encouraging idea, it cannot be verified in any sense. Nothing in history or archaeology supports either the dinner custom or the specific arrangement of the cloth.

The folding of the cloth is noteworthy enough without needing added significance. John will overcome his hesitation to come into the tomb, possibly because Peter mentions that he has seen this detail. Seeing the face cloth will give him a jolt of realization. This is a sign of deliberate action—by Jesus. While John may not have entirely understood, seeing this cloth seems to have set his mind to the idea that Jesus is truly alive (John 20:8).
What is the Gospel?
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