These had held him.
Precious strips placed on his body by hands that loved. The head cloth sealed by tears dropping from faces so close to his.
These last earthly bindings—
Wrapped his bloodied, broken body. Encased his emptied frame.
Embraced him in their soft folds. Swaddled him in their lengths.
He pulled them to his face and breathed deeply—still scented with the myrrh and aloes.
In the unwinding, instead of decay and stench, it was a sweet aroma unwound.
The linens and shroud had fulfilled their purpose.
Gone was the mortal flesh that had been his tent. It had not been the spices that had preserved him. The linens and the shroud could not contain him. Power pulled him forth—resurrected him up and through the woven threads. Left them behind as if they were simply air. His Father had called his name, just as he, Jesus, had spoken to Jarius’ daughter. Just as he had called her back from the darkness, so had I AM called him back.
Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?*
Now, scared hands are folding.
No hurry. No rush.
He folded the lengths of linen. Smoothed them down. Laid them one on top of the other. Not quickly discarded. Not absently thrown. Not hastily cast aside. The head cloth last—placed separate from the rest.
He knew they would find them, and contemplate their meaning.
And soon they would understand that the linens and the shroud had encased a broken, condemned man.
But a Power greater than death had released the triumphant Savior.
*I Corinthians 15:55