Just as He had foretold, Jesus was betrayed into the hands of the chief priests and scribes, condemned to death, and delivered to the Gentiles for crucifixion; Mat 20:18-19, 26:2. Although He had repeatedly warned His disciples what was about to happen (see also Mat 16:21, 17:22-23, Luk 18:31-34), it was still completely contrary to all their expectations. In spite of their belief in Him as the Messiah they could see no victory in death. Even Judas who betrayed Him seems to have expected that Jesus would manifest His power and save Himself (Mat 27:3), likely supposing that the confrontation he had arranged would lead to the establishment of the kingdom they all were expecting. And yet, after six very hasty inquisitions and trials that started in the middle of the previous night, here He was, having just arrived at Golgotha in the late morning on Thursday of Passion week. For in spite of the most righteous and holy law of God possessed by the Jews and the most advanced system of justice in the ancient world possessed by the Romans that ought to have delivered Him from death, He knew that even these could not restrain man’s long war against God, nor prevent his bondage to iniquity from fulfilling God’s plan to deliver man from his sin. After trying to give Him wine mixed with gall to lessen His suffering, which He refused, what happened next? See Mar 15:24; cf. Luk 23:33, Joh 19:17-18. What is the significance that He was crucified between two criminals? See Mar 15:28, Isa 53:12. What does this remind us about the way that sin so perverts man’s understanding as to cast even God’s most holy and righteous Son as evil? Cf. Isa 5:20.
What does Matthew record happened immediately after they had crucified Him? See Mat 27:35; cf. Mar 15:24. What prophecy of David was fulfilled by the soldiers casting lots to divide up Jesus’ clothing among themselves? See Psa 22:18. What fuller description does John give that even more clearly makes full sense of the prophecy they fulfilled? See Joh 19:23-24. What were the four parts of the typical first century Jew’s attire that would have easily been divided among the soldiers as their “booty” from the condemned? See Mat 3:4,11, 14:36, 24:18, Mar 6:8-9, 10:50, Act 12:8, 21:11 and note that although not explicitly stated in the New Testament, there would also have been some sort of headgear for protection from the elements; cf. Eze 24:17,23, 44:18.
What exactly was the tunic, the fifth piece of clothing that John notes was seamless, and that the soldiers gambled for so as to not spoil it by dividing it? See the NAS text note for Joh 19:23, and note that it was the essential garment worn next to the skin to cover one’s nakedness. It was typically sleeveless, reached below the knees like a long shirt, and is distinguished from the cloak or outer garment that was worn over the tunic for greater warmth and protection. Hence, the KJV coat is misleading since in modern English a coat is the outer garment; cf. Luk 6:29 and Act 9:39 where both the inner garment or tunic and the outer garment or cloak are used. Note also that the tunic was typically made of two pieces of material seamed at the waist, but this tunic of Jesus was seamless so it could not be divided without destroying it. In this way it was similar to the tunic worn by the high priest that Josephus describes as “not composed of two pieces, nor was it sewn together upon the shoulders and the sides, but it was one long vestment so woven as to have an aperture for the neck” (Ant 3:161). What is the great significance that the garment of Jesus our great High Priest was not torn? See Exo 28:32, 39:23, Lev 21:10-12; cf. Lev 10:1-7. In contrast, who had just hours early rent his garments? See Mat 26:65? What was the great significance of that? See Mat 27:51; cf. 1Sa 15:27-28, Heb 5:8-10, 7:11-12.
Throughout Scripture, clothes represent a person’s station in life, or glory, and even one’s wholeness and well-being, in both a physical and spiritual sense, and hence one’s righteous relationship to God; see our notes on Mat 26:65 (The High Priest Rent His Clothes). Consider that the tunic Jesus wore was quite literally the most valuable material possession He had, but at the crucifixion was stripped from Him, leaving Him completely naked. What very significant event in Scripture does Jesus’ nakedness at the cross remind us of? See Gen 3:6-7,10. What promise had God made at that time in regard to man’s sin that was now, thousands of years later, being fulfilled? See Gen 3:15,21. When the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and Eve and clothed them, in what sense was that a type of the salvation He would clothe them with through Christ to deliver them not only from the consequences of their sin, but from the bondage of sin itself? See Gal 3:27; cf. Isa 61:10, Luk 24:49, Rom 13:14, Eph 4:24, Col 3:10. Who else in Scripture was stripped of his tunic, which resulted in the salvation of his entire family as a type of the salvation Jesus would bring not just to the descendants of Jacob, but to the entire world? See Gen 37:3-4,23,31-33, 45:7, 50:19-20.
In addition to the cruel, torturous death, what effect would crucifying a person naked have upon the condemned? What does this remind us about not only the physical judgment of our sins that Jesus bore upon the cross, but the shame of them as well? In what sense is confession of sin an uncovering of ourselves, a dressing down, even an exposure of our nakedness, that leaves us vulnerable and open to shame? If we seek to cover our own nakedness as Adam and Eve did at first by justifying their sin or blaming someone else, will it remain covered so as to preserve us from shame in the presence of the Lord? See Gen 3:7-13. But if we confess our sins and turn from them, will He not forgive us and clothe us in Christ’s righteousness? See Pro 28:13, 1Jo 1:9. How does this help us to understand the importance of confession of sin and repentance to the true salvation of being clothed in Christ’s righteousness?
The Atonement of Christ's Blood: Understanding How the Blood of Christ Saves and Reconciles us to God
- What is the relationship between Jesus’ sacrifice and our redemption, forgiveness and receiving an inheritance per the terms of the covenant / will that was effected by His death?
- From what, and to what, are we saved? Is it Jesus’ death alone that saves us? What part does His resurrection have in our salvation?
- Does the justice of God demand the satisfaction of blood before He will forgive, similar to what pagans throughout history have believed?
- What was the purpose of the Old Testament sacrifices?
- Does blood alone atone for sin?
- How does Christ’s death render powerless the devil?
- To whom was Christ’s life given as a ransom? From what are we ransomed?
- Why did Jesus not only die, but suffer and die? If all that was necessary was His shed blood, why didn’t God sovereignly ordain a more merciful death for His own dear Son?
- What is the relationship between a will or testament, and a covenant? What was willed to Jesus as an inheritance from His Father, and what was willed to us through the new testament in His blood?