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The Tunic of Jesus

As the third cross dropped into place, the soldiers’ attention turns to dividing up the garments. But as they begin to divide the garments from the cross in the middle, they realize that his tunic is woven without a seam. Dividing it into four parts would ruin it, so they cast lots to see who will take it home. They had no idea that their actions fulfilled Old Testament prophecy, but hundreds of years earlier, the psalmist recorded these events before they occurred: “They parted my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture” (Psalm 22:18).

And so, when that workday at Golgotha ended, a Roman soldier went home with the tunic that Jesus had worn. How many wonderful words did he speak and how many mighty deeds did he do while wearing it? Was this the raiment that was “white as light” when he was transfigured before his apostles? The tunic that had sheltered the savior from wind and rain, and that had warmed him on a cold night, left Golgotha that day draped across the shoulder of a soldier.

What did he do with it? Did he wear it, or give it to someone else? Most likely, following the scourging, that tunic was blood-stained. Did the presence of Jesus’ blood have any effect upon this soldier? Did he ever think back to the events of that day? Did the words of the centurion, “Truly this was the Son of God,” ever return to his mind? Did ever a time come when, in the face of the ever-growing group of disciples, that he wondered what manner of man had owned this tunic?

Whatever the soldier thought of it and whatever he did with it, the tunic was just an item of clothing. It carried no special significance because Jesus had worn it. It was just a tunic. It was Jesus who was special. It was his sacrifice that was valuable. If the soldier took away only a tunic, he was the poorer for it. His heart could have been filled with faith and hope, and his life could have been blessed with forgiveness and reconciliation. As those who have “put on Christ,” let us be sure that these principles are woven throughout our hearts and lives and that we respond by loving him who died for us.

Thomas Larkin

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