THEY PARTED HIS GARMENTS

Leslie M. John

”And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots” (Matthew 27:35)

The prophecy of David in his psalm 22:18 was fulfilled when Jesus was crucified, His garments were parted, and they cast lots for His garments. David prayed to the LORD depicting his pathetic condition. The prophecy was:

”They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture” Psalm 22:18

As for parting of David’s clothes, it was never true in his case; not even during his dancing before the ‘Ark of the Covenant’ as we read in 2 Samuel 6:14-23. Obviously Psalm 22:18 was, without any doubt, a prophecy about Jesus whose garments were going to be parted and lots would be cast for the garments.

The question is why they parted His garments and why they cast lots for His garments. Sin exposes man to his shame, but when sinner confesses his sins the grace of God covers him in righteousness which is symbolized as white raiment. It is for the sake of clothing us with righteousness that His garments were removed and He bore our shame.

John in his vision saw one of the twenty four elders asking him a rhetorical question as to who those who were arrayed in white robes. Rhetorical questions are primarily designed to give answer rather than seek answer.

The first reason is found in the answer which was given by one of the twenty four elders. When John said ”thou knowest” to the elder, the elder answered his own question saying: ”these are they which came out of great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb”

”And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” Revelation 7:13 -14

The Second reason could be based on a supposition that soldiers may have believed that the garments of Jesus had power to heal. They probably heard of a woman who had disease with an issue of blood for twelve years and when she touched the garment of Jesus she was healed of her disease (Ref. Matthew 9:20)

Whatever the reason might be, it was surely a prophesy that was fulfilled when the soldiers parted His garments and cast lots for them and ”sitting down they watched him there”

Jesus was mocked by Pilate and soldiers when at the behest of Pilate’s orders they set up over his head an accusation that read: ”THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS”.

”And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS” Matthew 27:37.

Primary aim of Pilate in setting up such inscription was to deride Jesus. This is corroborated by the evidence that He was crucified with two thieves on either side of Him.

However, the intended derision of Pilate and soldiers gave a different meaning to the onlookers because it was written in three languages; in Greek, in Hebrew, and in Latin. Indeed Jesus was the King of Jews and He will be their King in future. In their act of insulting Jesus they ignorantly fulfilled divine purpose of bearing shame on behalf of us. Secondly Roman Government proclaimed that Jesus was the king of Jews.

John gives a detailed description of this inscription. It was written in three languages: in Greek, in Hebrew and in Latin.

Then chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate to change the writing as ”he said, I am the king of the Jews” as if Jesus was not the King of Jews but He claimed to be so; but the first writing was affirmative of Jesus’ status that He is the King of Jews, and God did not allow Pilate to change the inscription to fulfill the desire of chief priests, thus again, the divine purpose was fulfilled. The divine purpose was to show the truth, and truth was that Jesus was the King Jews, and He is the King of Jews, and He will be the King of Jews in future. Pilate said ”What I have written I have written”. (Ref. John 19:19-22)