Did you know? The Patriot Post is funded 100% by its readers. Help us stay front and center in the fight for Liberty and support the 2024 Patriots' Day Campaign.

April 2, 2024

The Folded Cloth in the Empty Tomb

The Bible cannot be read like a novel. Often buried in the text are little nuggets that shed a whole new light on the narrative.

By Mark W. Fowler

“[Simon Peter] saw the strips of linen lying there as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded upon by itself separate from the linen.” —John 20:7 (NIV Study Bible)

The astute reader knows that the Bible cannot be read like a novel. It must be read with thoughtfulness and deliberation. Often buried in the text are little nuggets that shed a whole new light on the narrative.

Consider that the most momentous event in history — the Resurrection of Christ — would first be witnessed by Mary Magdalene. As a woman, Mary’s word in court and in matters of dispute was less reliable than a man’s. Christ had commanded seven demons to come out of her. Demon possession would have been a serious challenge to her credibility. Finally, she was from Magdala, a place so debauched that its collapse was attributed to licentiousness. There was every reason not to believe her if you were looking for one.

God has frequently come from unexpected places. He had done this before. “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” was said of Jesus. And yet, it was Mary who had the honor of first learning that the tomb was empty. This play on circumstances makes one smile. Of all the people we might predict to have that honor, Mary would not likely be on the short list, and yet, here she is. Those who say the Bible is sexist overlook the significance of this.

Jesus’s preaching, teaching, healing, and followers posed a threat to the status quo. It was imperative that this threat be eliminated. Thus, crucifixion must be used to definitively end the movement and the threat. No true king would be killed in this fashion. The authorities ordered the tomb sealed, and guards were placed at the entry to ensure that the body was not stolen. If the body were to come up missing, those who opposed Jesus supposed the disciples would claim He was still alive. As it turned out, even His disciples were initially skeptical.

Mary, arriving first, found an empty tomb. She returned to the other disciples to report this and what she claimed was so nonsensical that none of the other disciples believed her. They went to look for themselves.

It is recorded in John that Simon Peter found the linen burial cloth, including the cloth that had been placed on his head, folded by itself. This detail, as minor as it seems, is of such importance that it puts the entire story in context. In John’s singular account of Jesus’s raising Lazarus from the dead, John specifically mentions that Lazarus came out still in burial cloths.

The fact that the face cloth was undisturbed, or folded neatly and not in disarray, suggests that the body was not stolen (indeed, that cloth was present suggests the same. What grave-robber takes time to remove burial cloths?) This detail, a seemingly insignificant incidental fact, lends the story a degree of credibility. It could and most likely was used to contradict the tale told by the soldiers who were bribed to say the disciples stole the body. It is the kind of thing a detective would use to unravel a lie.

Easter 2024 has come and gone. But the question posed by Easter and its story remains. What is your answer to the most significant question in human history?

Mark W. Fowler is a board-certified physician and former attorney. He can be reached at [email protected].

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our Military Mission of Service to our uniformed service members and veterans, are proud to support and promote the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, both the Honoring the Sacrifice and Warrior Freedom Service Dogs aiding wounded veterans, the National Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, the Folds of Honor outreach, and Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation, and Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. "Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13)


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

Please join us in prayer for our nation — that righteous leaders would rise and prevail and we would be united as Americans. Pray also for the protection of our Military Patriots, Veterans, First Responders, and their families. Please lift up your Patriot team and our mission to support and defend our Republic's Founding Principle of Liberty, that the fires of freedom would be ignited in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2024 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.