Good Day, Friends.
This got me thinking . . .
Some of the boxes I have moved into my attic contain my children's baby clothes - a box or two of Matthew, Amy, Dylan and Danny. (yes, I'm sentimental.) It has been fun to see Alyssa wear some of Amy's little dresses . . . sigh.
But it got me thinking...hmm...wonder what happened to Jesus' swaddling cloths? Who packed up Jesus’ baby clothes? Just saying. Throughout the Gospels, there is scant mention of Jesus’ clothing at all, but each time, the mention is significant. Think of it—there was the time the sick woman lunged for Jesus as he walked through the marketplace, just touching the hem of his garment, and she was healed.
There was the time in the Upper Room, which we recently considered in John 13, ... Jesus removes his outer garment, ready to go to work, washing the dirty feet of his disciples before the Passover meal. In so doing, he models leadership coupled with humility and a servant’s heart.
And now, Jesus is on the cross. The trials: three religious, three civil have been a mockery but Jesus himself decides his fate—he was not really in the hands of these foolish men! After all, Jesus was born to die. And so, Pilate has him flogged, a crown of thorns thrust into his scalp and the cross beam put on his bloody back for him to carry out of town to the place of his execution. Jesus’ garments are no doubt bloodied from the lacerated skin on his shoulders, back and buttocks. Oh, my Jesus!
John makes no mention of Jesus being nailed to the cross, only that he is in the middle of two criminals whose crosses are raised on the hillside that late morning--a Friday. Pilate makes sure that all can read the sign that is nailed above Jesus’ head“Jesus of Nazareth, king of the Jews”—Pilate has it written in three languages.
‘Ever wonder why the three languages? Were thousands of people of different ethnicities going to pass by those hours while Jesus was dying?
John writes,“When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another,“Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” Ah, another mention of Jesus’ clothing. I mean seriously, when you think about this scene, it is ludicrous.
Jesus is above them, dying a torturous death—and these two-bit, bloodthirsty Roman soldiers are dividing his garments among themselves ... for what, bragging rights? Jesus’ tunic stands out from the other garments—it is seamless; that is to say, it is woven from top to bottom. Your attention? That is the precise description of the linen tunic that the high priest wore.1 ‘Coincidence? Perhaps, but not likely, when you consider that the function of the priest was to be the mediator between God and his people.
Paul captured this,“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”2
Also, not a coincidence David had prophesied a thousand years earlier that this is how it would happen in his prophetic psalm about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ: his
garments would be divided, but the tunic would go to the man who won at dice, so to speak.3
Truly, it seems Scripture never mentions Jesus’ clothing without great significance attached. I am filled with wonder and awe at the great love and brilliance of God, conveyed in his Word. The more you dig into it, paying attention to each word, the richer it is . . . how I treasure the words of God.
Not a word wasted . . . everything about Jesus significant.
1 - Insight about the priest’s garment from William Barclay, The New Daily Study Bible: Gospel of John
2 - 1 Timothy 2.5
3 - Psalm 22.18