Jesus lived a life of poverty and suffering. So poor was he that he had nothing to bequeath. The only property he did own was the shirt on his own back.
And even this was taken from him.
These soldiers wasted no time in plundering the Son of God of his only worldly possessions. Governments are known to steal from the people. This robbery was just a perk of being assigned the grim role of supervising death row.
It was, so to speak, a death tax.
Roman law affirmed that soldiers could loot those who were sentenced to be executed. After all, the condemned wouldn't need it anymore.
Yet, it was more the compulsion of God than some Roman legionary. It was the Lord's stripping. The guard was merely the instrument. This was God's afflicting of His Son and sabotaging what blessings He did enjoy on this earth
The act was no doubt part of the ignominy of crucifixion. The cross was designed for enhancing the suffering process. Not only would you have excruciating pain agonizing every inch of your physic, you were to feel the sting of Roman justice far into the inner depths of your soul.
It is ironic, to be sure. The removal of the outward clothes has an inward effect. One shudders not because of some external pain, but because a would is struck within the heart.
We call it shame. It was the first punishment in the history of the world. Prior to the fall Adam and Eve were naked and felt no shame. The moment after they fell from grace, they felt the need to cover themselves.
Their nakedness was no longer an expression of the beauty of God's creation. It was a distortion; it was now indecent. It was an unholy exposure; one which they sought to immediately rectify with whatever they could get their hands on.
From that point on nakedness becomes almost synonymous with humiliation. Clothing becomes a grace.
After His pronouncement of redemption, the Lord clothed the fallen couple. God made garments from an animal for them.
That was an X rated procedure in and of itself. Adam and Eve were forced to watch an animal be slain and skinned. Imagine the shock.
Death was a completely foreign concept. All they had known was life, gentleness, and peace. As the animal was torn open and drained, What horror it had to be. To see the carcass being tanned had to be appalling; knowing it should have been them in its stead would have been all that much more sobering.
Nevertheless, they receive a covering; a blessing for which they were thankful.
At the foot of the cross this episode was relived, only in reverse. Jesus loses his attire. Grace is stripped from him. The curse of sin is descending upon him. He himself is descending into hell. \
He must feel the pain; and feel it fully. It cannot be outward and external only. It must seep into his very soul. The wrath of God must touch the core fibers of his being.
The high priest would have been the best dressed man in Israel. Yet our High Priest had no such privilege. He was covered only in the blisters of the sun's hot rays and robed with the treachery of sin.
In so doing, he secured for us our wardrobe. The gospel story should have the same effect upon us as it did for Adam and Eve. Though it may be grievous to behold, we can be thankful. We become the beneficiaries of his substitution. His loss is our gain. For we shall forever enjoy the grace of being robed in splendor.
A Time to Pray
We invite you to join us for a time of prayer this Friday evening (April 10). We will meet online in our video/phone conference venue. Time is TBA. Please contact us if you need the access codes.
Membership at Hopewell
Interested in learning more about Hopewell and formally becoming a member? You can read about what membership entails at our website. Be sure to check out our Hopewell Starter Guide too. When you are ready contact us about any questions and next steps for joining our fellowship.