HomeChurches ( April 10, 2024 )

Pastor's Corner

By Pastor Vince Chiaramonte

Good day dear hearts, I love you. As I said last week there were incidents which occurred during Holy Week which have significant meaning to us. Today I want to talk to you about the folded napkin. When you have time read John chapter 20:6-7. It's Easter Sunday, the women who went to the tomb of Jesus to finish the anointment custom had encountered the risen Jesus Christ who instructed them to go tell the apostles of what they were witnessing. They joyfully obey and run through Jerusalem to where the apostles are staying, which is about a quarter mile from the tomb. The apostles race to the tomb to find it empty, finding Jesus' burial cloth lying on the floor but the linen napkin which covered his face was neatly folded and put in the place where His head rested.

To digress for a moment, I have been talking about incidents briefly mentioned but have significant meanings. The women who went to the tomb Resurrection Sunday Morning were the first ones to witness the risen Christ. I believe Jesus rewarded them with this special blessing because of their faithfulness to Him, not only through His three years of ministry, but stood at the cross on Good Friday when all the apostles ran away and hid, with the exception of John the apostle. In that culture women were considered possessions and the law would not accept their testimony to anything. John and Peter were the ones considered to give the valid testimony when they found the empty tomb, but they did not actually see Jesus until later that night. The women were the first.

The symbolic meaning to the folding of the face cloth can go back to the Jewish tradition of a guest who has finished his dinner. When a guest was finished eating, he would fold his napkin neatly and set it on the plate, signifying he would return again. This was his sign of completeness of being finished. In the case of the linen face cloth, Jesus in His resurrection symbolizes completion and reverence. And left it as a sign of His intention to return. Just as a guest at a meal in those days would fold their napkin neatly before leaving the table, Jesus left a symbolic symbol that He would come back. To be clear, while the description of the events in John 20:6-7 actually happened, the interpretation I gave you is not explicitly stated in the Bible, but is popular among theologians.

This small detail of a folded face napkin carries great significance. Jesus finished the work He came to do, fulfilled His promise He would rise again and leave a symbol, a reminder of His promise of coming back to bring us home. Jesus' death and resurrection conquered sin and death and secured our salvation. The methodical folding of Jesus' face cloth also evidenced divine work.

We frequently think the Easter story is the end of the story when it comes to Christianity. On the contrary, Jesus left us a significant message leaving the folded face cloth behind. He is coming back for His believers, you and I. He will also be coming back for the non-believers, because according to Scripture they are going to be judged for their actions.

If you have not accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, there is no time like right now. Time is running out. The Bible speaks of the end times, and we are in that time now. It began when Jesus ascended to heaven. There are theories and calculations as to when Jesus will return but the truth of the matter is and Jesus said Himself, "Only my father knows the time." That time could be 10 minutes from now. Are you ready to face Jesus in 10 minutes? Do you know for sure where you are going when you die? A philosopher by the name of Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) put forth a thought-provoking argument known as Pascal's Wager. Here is the essence of his reasoning. 1) Believing in God: If you choose to believe in God and live your life accordingly, there are two possible outcomes. A) If God exists you gain everything, eternal life, blessings and divine favor. B) If God doesn't exist you lose nothing. You've still led a good life marked by peace and purpose. 2) Not believing in God. If you choose not to believe in God, there are two possible outcomes. A) If God exists you made a grave mistake, risking eternal consequences. B) If God doesn't exist you gain nothing. Life remains finite and uncertain. Pascal suggests the potential benefits of believing in God are so vast that it's rational to bet on God. Win or lose, the wager favors belief in God. I urge you to go with #1 of Pascal's wager, believe in God. The next step is to accept God's Son Jesus Christ as your Savior. There is no time like now so if you want Jesus in your life pray this prayer with me. "Holy Father, I come before you acknowledging your Son Jesus Christ that through His death and resurrection I lay my sins before the cross asking for forgiveness and accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior." If you prayed this prayer, there is more to it. Call me, another pastor or someone who is a solid believer in the Lord. God Bless.

We are looking to have a "Blessing of the Bikes" (motorcycles) Sunday, May 19th at 10:00am followed by a free BBQ. Help us make it a success. Lord, watch over our community. Bless our children. Heal the sick and broken-hearted. Let your Spirit hover over our community. Amen.

Contact me anytime. Pastor Vince Chiaramonte, 570-853-3988, Susquehanna Christian Community Church, 1361 Main Street; or email: clearmountain2158@gmail.

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