Friday, April 2, 2010
“His garments” (Luke 23:34)
With today being Good Friday I wanted us to reflect on a small but significant part during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Jesus, the innocent One, is being pierced for the sins of those he came to save. As he is hanging on the cross the Scriptures tell us that the soldiers who crucified him were gambling for “his garments.”
I think it’s fair to ask, “What is so significant about the soldiers gambling for his garments?” In Psalm 22 we read of an anguished individual lament of a man who has suffered much pain by the hands of wicked people. The innocent man is mocked by these wicked men but finds hope in the “vindication and joyful worship with the rest of God’s people” (ESV Study Bible). But this Psalm can also serve as a foreshadowing of Christ’s suffering on the cross. We read many of things that will take place when the innocent and perfect God-man, Jesus Christ, is crucified on the cross. One of the foreshadowing events is in Psalm 22:18, “They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” The innocent man in Psalm 22 has everything taken away from him, including his clothing, at the hands of wicked men. So Jesus Christ in his humanity has everything stripped away from him as well. The soldiers had taken everything including “his garments.”
While we see some great significance in the foreshadowing text of Psalm 22 I think we need to gaze upon the beautiful picture of what “his garments” means. Jesus was stripped of “his garments” not insignificantly but for the purpose that you and I could picturesquely see the reality that those garments are what we need to be covered in. Because Jesus was willing to be stripped of “his garments” we are now covered in them. We are clothed in his righteousness or dressed in his righteousness because he humbly submitted to his Father’s will and was stripped of “his garments.”
The prophet Isaiah gives us an image as well of the importance of Christ’s garments: “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness” (61:10). The event in Luke’s gospel of the soldiers gambling over Christ’s garments is a historical event. When we see the significance of Christ’s garments and our need to be covered in them we find beauty in this passage we may have never known. Before our eyes are opened to the saving reality of the cross our whole life is spent trampling on God’s gracious garments of righteousness. We don’t want his garments because we are confident wearing our own garments. We find his to be of no use, much like the Roman soldiers did. But now that God has revealed the truth of the cross to us, we understand the significance of “his garments.” To be covered in Christ’s garment of righteousness is essential to approaching the Father in this life and also the life to come. We cannot approach his throne without being covered in Christ’s garments of righteousness.
“When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne” (Edward Mote)
Grace upon grace,