Day 5: Jesus’ Garments Are Divided

by Apr 14, 2022Devotional, Easter 2022, Journey of the Cross

John 19:23-25 (ESV)

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.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,

“They divided my garments among them,
    and for my clothing they cast lots.”

So the soldiers did these things, but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

 

The last words Grandma said to me before she left this earth for her eternal home were from Psalm 23: “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Grandma’s body wasn’t even cold yet when relatives pulled in from out of town and tore through her belongings like a wake of buzzards. Drawers askew, they left the house disheveled after rummaging for hidden stash.

Likewise, when my favorite aunt died and we gathered at the house after her funeral, extended relatives yanked hangings off the walls and scoured the rooms—calling dibs and filling their bags with bounty.

Items were taken that were legally willed to other family members. And those of us who were closest to the deceased not only felt the void of their absence, but the churning spasms of indignation and despair from witnessing such greed and disrespect.

“Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews” was nailed to a cross and hung between two criminals. As his heartless enemies gloated and haggled over His torn and tattered garments, those who loved Him may have watched in similar despair, horror, and disgust. 

They may have looked on helplessly while the soldiers who crucified Jesus divided His outer garments among themselves—trophies of what they had accomplished, victors toting the temporal spoils of war. As Jesus’ mother, and His mother’s sister, and Mary Magdalene watched the fulfillment of prophecy, the soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ tunic, for something as intimate as His clothing—His scent, His blood.

Jesus looked down from the cross at the mourners and the murderers and saw them as one: those who loved Him and wept; those who scorned Him and jeered; those who claimed His garments for temporary prized souvenirs; and those who watched as His belongings were stolen, denied of the cherished memories—all of them responsible for the nails in His hands and feet. He hung dying on the cross with nothing but His name and offered them all the same eternal inheritance of “[dwelling] in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6).

With hope beyond the short-lived victory of the soldiers and the momentary loss of items that may have served as earthly treasures, we bow our hearts to the overwhelming love of Jesus who surrendered His life and suffered for our eternal benefit.

 

 

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