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Circumstantial Evidence of the Resurrection
The Grave Clothes Were Left Behind
In keeping with Jewish custom, Jesus' body had been anointed with spices and bound in linen wrappings in preparation for burial. But these grave clothes tell a story,
"So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself." (John 20:3-7)
First, the wrappings were there, indicating that the body was not stolen. Any robber would simply pick up the body, wrappings and all, and remove it from the tomb. Especially if they were in danger of being discovered by Roman guards. No thief would take the time to remove the binding. Second, the face cloth was neatly folded. This too, is strong evidence that the body was not stolen. What grave robber would take the time to neatly fold a wrapping and set it aside?
Third, the grave clothes were lying in their original location, demonstrating the supernatural nature of the resurrection. This evidence is inferred by the location of the face cloth, which was no longer with the clothes; and by the fact that Peter and John peered into the tomb and believed. If they were to suspect a robbery it would have been characterized by a disheveled mess of sticky binding material. If Christ had been merely mortal there would have been a struggle and a very disturbed look to the linen wrappings. And it is unlikely that the face wrapping would have been neatly and noticeably placed aside. A mess like that would have alarmed them, rather than amazed them. Something about the grave clothes caused them to instantly believe when they saw them.