The tunic of Jesus

11.08.2019

 

Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him.
(Matthew 27:27-28 NKJV)
 
During the trial against him, Jesus is humiliated and derided. Stripped of his clothes he is ironically covered with a purple cloak to represent his being king. After having taunted him he is again stripped and covered with his clothes to be led to the place of the crucifixion, where he is stripped again. In the story of Matthew he is stripped three times. He, the son of God, who had left the glory of heaven to be born in a humble manger, is humiliated to the end. In the Gospel of John we read that the soldiers "they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom" (John 19:23). The soldiers made in four pieces "the clothes", or "the mantel", that is the outer garment, not the tunic, the chiton, which was the intimate garment, brought into direct contact with the body. The ancient authors saw the mystery of the Church, body of Christ, depicted in the garments and in the tunic, respectively in its universality and in its integrity/unity. The clothes, distributed in four parts, indicate universality: the body of the Son for all the brothers. The tunic instead indicates the mystery of integrity/unity: the one body given gives each child, united to the Father and to the brothers.

There can be no shame, but profound admiration for unparalleled behavior and at the same time a gesture of great love. Just as after the fall of Adam and Eve, God provided them with animal skin garments, through Jesus - the sinless lamb - he clothed each of us with grace and mercy. Lost and distant like the prodigal son, He has waited for us, ready to welcome us and give us a new habit. To Joseph was given by his father a long robe with sleeves or, according to another translation, of various colors (Genesis 37:3). It was an expression of esteem and love and a sign of his vocation. Joseph was the son of old age, his stick. In him Giacobbe had perhaps placed his hopes so much that he made him a long-sleeved tunic, that is to cover him with the most beautiful things. That particular dress was taken from him by his brothers when they decided to get rid of him and was returned to his father as proof of his phantom death. He will thus find himself in Egypt as a slave in the house of Potiphar, where he is the object of the lure of his wife. Another dress marks his life, and it is precisely the one that slips off and leaves in the hands of this woman so as not to give in to her advances. It will be the proof against him and he will imprison him. Apparently forgotten by the family and without friends, it is not abandoned by God, who exalts his gift of interpreting dreams right in the prison. Led to the court of Pharaoh, he will show his talent to the point of receiving a royal robe. What the others took away is returned to him at a higher level. With the authoritative role it will be the tool to help those brothers who had stripped him, to give them a dress for the trip. What he had taken from him does not deny it to others.

If you now think of the dress as your life or your dignity, the story of Joseph will take on a particular flavor. No one feels covered, because in your eye we are always naked, and the church of Laodicea in Apocalypse teaches it. Let us go to Him, for Christ's precious sacrifice, and we buy without money those white garments that cover our shame. We are not trying as the two ancestors in Eden to build clothes with fig leaves, but let us rely on His loving hands.
 


Devotional 33/2018
Weekly Bible reading plan

August 12, Psalms 84-86; Romans 12
August 13, Psalms 87-88; Romans 13
August 14, Psalms 89-90; Romans 14
August 15, Psalms 91-93; Romans 15:1-13
August 16, Psalms 94-96; Romans 15:14-33
August 17, Psalms 97-99; Romans 16
August 18, Psalms 100-102; 1 Corinthians 1

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