“When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes…”
“…they took his clothes…” It’s too easy for us to overlook these four little words reading past them with little thought to the depth of their meaning. Jesus was publically disrobed and exposed as he hung on the cross. When I thought of the humiliation of being publically exposed, I immediately thought of the people who were taken to concentrations camps during WWII. They too were stripped naked at the hands of their oppressors.
The soldiers replaced his head covering with a crown of thorns. On it, must’ve been traces of the oil Mary used to anoint him at Bethany just six days before. As he hung on the cross, in the heat of the day, the blood and sweat flowed mingled down his brow stinging his eyes and covering his face with no ability to wipe it away. That painful, twisted crown reminds me of the twisted virtues of these soldiers who despised Jesus without reason. It reminds me of the painfulness of sin that I can cause others to bear. Jesus was pierced for my transgressions- not only by the sword after his death, but by each painful thorn upon his head.
They took the shoes from the feet of the Son of Man who walked the earth. It is estimated that He walked at least 3000 miles of rocky, rugged terrain during his public ministry. He walked through the cold and mud of winter and the scorching summer heat through Galilee, Samaria, and Judea. The soldiers had no idea that they held the shoes that walked on water. In place of the sandals, a spike pierced his feet to the cross.
They stripped him of his outer coat, which repelled the rain and the wind on the night that He calmed the sea. They removed his belt just as he had the done at the evening meal before washing the disciples’ feet. Finally, they took his robe. Layer by layer, Jesus was exposed for all the world to see.
When Adam and Eve sinned, their eyes were opened and they realized they were naked. For the first time, they felt shame and desired to cover themselves. Sin causes us to feel exposed and ashamed. Our natural response to shame is to make a covering for ourselves just as Adam and Eve tried to do. But we learn from Genesis 3 that in and of ourselves, we cannot cover our sin. God, himself, must provide the covering. In the Garden of Eden, God made garments of skin and clothed them. Their clothing cost the life of another. Only through death, could sin be cleansed. Jesus has taken our sin and our shame. He allowed himself to be laid bare- completely exposed for the world to see- so that we who believe in his name can have our sins covered by his blood. Because of his work on the cross, we will not be ashamed but may stand before God with confidence knowing that God has clothed us in the perfect righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.