In John Chapter 20, one of the first things that struck me was that the grave clothes were left neatly folded. I really never noticed or thought about this before. I know I had heard before that many were concerned that the disciples would try to pull off some kind of a hoax by stealing the body of Jesus. When His body was not found, this is what many people thought had happened. But I wonder, did they ever give thought to why the grave clothes had been taken off and left neatly folded if robbers were involved. In fact, we know that the perfumes used were very expensive and the clothes would have been very valuable especially because they would still contain the mixture of spices on them. So why would they be left behind? For all the skeptics, the grave robber theory really doesn’t make sense, but I guess if you don’t want to believe in something, you will find ways to justify your point of view.
I think there is something very significant about the clothes being left behind. The first time any one was clothed, was in the garden right after Adam and Eve sinned. God clothed them. Then there is the Scripture referring to special wedding clothes that must be worn by the guests invited to the wedding feast. When we are baptized, we are clothed in Christ.
Did you stop to consider that Jesus must have removed the clothes himself. He laid them in two different places and folded them neatly. I joked with my girls about this this morning. I took special care to note that Jesus loves order and neatness. 🙂
But then what? Did He snap His fingers and new clothes appeared.? The first time He is seen, He is mistaken for a gardener. Hmmm….. I wonder if gardeners dressed differently than others, or why did Mary first mistake Him for a gardener?
I really love all the emphasis on gardens and one day I hope to study out all the ways gardens and gardening are referred to in the Scriptures. You see. although much of my studies growing up were focused on the sciences and business (my dad had hoped I would either become a doctor or a business woman), it really was not who God created me to be. My last year of college, I radically changed my major and applied for a Fulbright Scholarship, because I really did not know what I wanted to do. My passion was much more geared towards the arts, but all my life, I ignored that passion because I was raised to “make money and be independent.” So I planned to use the two year scholarship as a sabbatical from life so I could have time to think through who and what I wanted to become. After much turmoil and wrestling with emotions, I decided to come back to the states and become a Landscape Architect. In my mind, this would make my dad happy, because it required a good deal of science and math, and it would make me happy because I could express my creative side while working in nature. So I ended up going to Harvard’s Graduate School of Design to become a “glorified gardener.”
Now anyone who has been to our home realizes that I simply don’t have the time nor the energy to actually put into practice the things that I have learned. It’s kind of like the story of the cobbler’s children having no shoes. But, I have a great love for nature, which is probably why we live across a swinging bridge in the middle of nowhere. I find great peace and joy being surrounded by God’s creation. And for this reason, I find it exceedingly wonderful that God makes His first appearance in a garden. The Scriptures also tell us that He frequently spent time in gardens with His disciples. John 19 notes that His tomb is in a garden and when He first appears after His crucifixion, He appears in the form of a gardener. It’s fun for me to think on these things because I readily identify with this aspect of God and long for the day when I can see His perfect garden.