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In one of my favorite detective shows, the main character often notices a small detail at the crime scene. The early theories about the crime do not explain that one, nagging fact. He doesn’t rest until he understands how the detail occurred, often leading him to a different suspect, the true murderer.
As we examine the empty tomb of Jesus, we have to understand a nagging detail, namely, Jesus was prepared for burial. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took Jesus’ body from the cross. John 19:40 says, “Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.” (NIV 1984) Earlier verses tell us that they used 75 pounds of spices, not a light dusting. The strips of cloths were probably about a foot wide. They wrapped the body, placing spices between the layers of cloth. Some of the spices probably had a sticky consistency, holding the cloth to the body and each layer of wrapping to the next.
Why is this fact important? It proves again that Jesus was dead. He could not have revived in the tomb and escaped the wrappings. But more importantly, all the cloth wrapping lay exactly where Jesus’ body had laid, but were empty, flat. Only the face covering was in a different place. How did this happen? Jesus rose from the dead.
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.