Easter Devotional | 2024 - Day 5

Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments

By Dr. Humberto Gonzalez

“Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. So they said to one another, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be’; this was to fulfill the Scripture: ‘They divided My outer garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.’” ~ John 19:23-24

As we prepare for Easter, it is good to remember the moments of Jesus’ life that led up to the greatest event in history, which is Jesus’ resurrection. During the lapse of time between the crucifixion and the burial, there was a moment in His life where the Scriptures describe the stripping of Jesus’ garments.

Although the four Gospels have all recalled this fact, John uses remarkable restraint in giving us his account of Jesus’ crucifixion (John 19:17–37). His language is lean. The facts are stated without embellishment. Words here can in no way add to the meaning of God’s gracious and costly deed! It is Jesus giving away His life to fulfill God’s purposes.

God, in His sovereignty, knew all the events occurring in that specific time, not only because He is the Creator of history but also because He had a perfect plan for His beloved Son, Jesus, and for humanity.

Let’s imagine for a moment some reactions from people at the crucifixion. The Pharisees scoffed and said, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself!” (Matthew 27:42). The thieves reviled him, saying, “If you are a child of God, get down from the cross” (Matthew 27:44). The disciples left him believing it was all over. His mother cried, heartbroken, feeling that life itself was going away. The soldiers ridiculed him, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself” (Luke 23:37). Those who passed by insulted him by shaking their heads, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself!” (Matthew 27:40). One of the criminals who was hanging there said, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” (Luke 23:39). Until these inconceivable moments, there seemed to be no hope for them to see Jesus alive. Not only did people react to this brutality, but Satan also celebrated, and the demons rejoiced because they had killed Jesus. However, at the same time, Jesus was achieving our salvation on the cross. He did not require nor ask, nor did anyone offer him assistance. He was there, by Himself, on the cross, dying for our sins.

The act of removing, pulling, or tearing the outer layers of his clothes makes us reflect on the progression of events leading to the resurrection. But it also makes us reflect on the fulfillment of the prophecy written several centuries before His crucifixion:

“My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; and You lay me in the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded me; a band of evildoers has encompassed me; they pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing, they cast lots.” (Psalm 22:15–18).

The Roman law allowed the soldiers to remove and seize the garments of the criminal being executed. This allowance brought pride to the four soldiers to the point of dividing the outer garments into four pieces, one per person, and casting lots to see who would get the seamless inner garment. For them, it was the case of another criminal being executed and represented the defeat of a person sentenced to death. The soldiers never imagined that the prophecy had been fulfilled with their action of stripping Jesus’ garments. God’s redemptive plan would continue until Jesus’ resurrection.

Hope is what we need today and in the days to come. God inspired the prophet Isaiah to write words of hope with a wonderful portrait of the saving work of God for mankind:

“I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10).

Questions for Thought

  1. How can you share with a non-believer about the reliability and fulfillment of the Scriptures? What does the fulfillment of prophecy bring to your life?
  2. How should we respond with our attitudes and actions before a crucified and resurrected Jesus?

Daily Challenge

If God has already clothed you with salvation and righteousness, be intentional in sharing your story with a person during this season and invite them to our Easter services.

Author Bio

Dr. Humberto Gonzalez

Minister En Español

Dr. Humberto Gonzalez has a passion for connecting with people and seeing God transform their lives. He is developing the ministry that will help First Dallas reach the first, second, and third generations of Hispanics locally and globally. He has degrees in Civil Engineering from Universidad Panamericana in Mexico, a Master of Divinity from Moody Theological Seminary in Chicago, and a Doctorate in Ministry from Dallas Theological Seminary. He is married to Sarah, a cellist who graduated from Wheaton College. Dr. Gonzalez and Sarah have five children. Besides teaching, he likes music, traveling, sports, reading, and writing.

Author in Israel