This week we will be focusing on the Stations of the Cross, the series of events on Jesus’ last day leading up to His crucifixion. Depictions of these events can often be found in the form of paintings or carvings in churches or cathedrals. Of the twelve stations known, we will focus on the eight mentioned in the Bible, focusing on the meaning of the cross.
Now when the soldiers crucified Jesus, they divided up his clothes into four shares, one for each of them. But his tunic was seamless, woven from the top to the bottom as a single garment. So the soldiers said to each other, “Don’t tear it—let’s throw dice to see who gets it!” The soldiers did all of this not knowing they fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my garments among them and gambled for my clothing.”
Jesus is stripped of His garments.
Before a crucifixion, it was customary for the Roman soldiers to strip clothes from people – an effort to insult their dignity. Once the person was crucified, the soldiers were entitled to divide the clothing for themselves. They would cast lots or draw straws to see who would get the garments. A trophy for a job well done.
Take a moment to think about the stages of Jesus’ path to the cross so far. He was severely beaten, mocked, spit on, stepped on, punched, made to carry His cross, and now His clothing stripped, leaving Him naked. Remember, this is a spectator sport drawing crowds of people. Humiliation would be expected and as a King, it would also mean their kingdom was gone. However, the will of the Roman soldiers to refute this “imposter’s” claim to be the King of the Jews, was instead fulfilling the will of God. In Psalm 22:18 King David prophesied “They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” What the soldiers did not know is that their actions towards the man who claimed to be the Son of God added to the proof that He indeed was the Messiah!
Even today we know that many in other countries have faced persecution in Christ’s name. We may not experience that level of suffering in our country, but we do face opposition and ridicule. We may even lose friends and family because of our faith. There is comfort in knowing Jesus knows how we feel. Like Him, His believers must not only press on through the resistance we face in this world, but continue to be the salt and light, flavoring the world with the certainty there is one true Messiah – His name is Jesus.