Garments played an important part in the events of biblical history, many of which we readily remember. For instance we remember the many-colored coat of Joseph as well as the fact that the children of Israel were forbidden from taking their neighbor's garment as a pledge (see Exodus 22.16 & Amos 2.8). However, who would have thought that soldiers taking the garments of Jesus would play a significant part in confirming the fact that He was Messiah?
The Seamless Tunic (2/4)
The book of Psalms was a collection of songs – a songbook if you will – of the Hebrews. It contains a variety of poems and short stories that reflect the hundreds of emotions that ebb and flow in the human heart during the course of life. Likewise, this inspired songbook contains vivid descriptions of God and His character. Interspersed in all of this are a variety of lines, phrases, and even entire Psalms that looked forward to the coming Messiah (e.g. 2,8, 16,22, etc.). The 22Psalm contains this line: “They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.” (Psalm 22.18). This inconspicuous line became significant when God used it as one of the many pieces of evidence that were needed to confirm the fact that Messiah had come!
There is room for discussion as to exactly what the tunic was for which the soldiers gambled at the Cross of Jesus. Some contend that it was an outer garment (a coat) while others say it was an inner garment (a vesture such as was worn by the priests). However, there is no controversy that it was an unusual, and for that reason, valuable part of Jesus' attire on the day of His crucifixion. When the quaternion of soldiers came to the task of dividing up His garments, they had no trouble until they came to His tunic. However, the beauty of the tunic was so noticeable that none was willing to give way; they all wanted it such that a four-man lottery was arranged to settle who its rightful owner would be.
Had it not been for the tunic, Psalm 22.18 would have not been fulfilled, the remainder of His garments being so ordinary that ownership was not a thing to be coveted. However, the Psalm said they would divide His garments AND cast lots for His clothing. Only the value of the tunic forced the soldiers to do exactly what the Psalm predicted, namely the casting of lots for His clothing.
Where did the Man who did not have so much as a place to lay His head obtain such a garment? There has been much speculation about the matter; some take it for granted that it came from His mother. Others think that it came from one of the several women who continued with Him even up to the point of His death (Mark 15.40-41). Perhaps the most significant matter is seen in the fact that we do not know its source; it is just an incidental detail which, when carefully considered after the fact, provides one of the finishing pieces of the Messianic puzzle! Again, a seemingly insignificant detail in the hands of an all wise and all powerful God becomes a part of the incontrovertible evidence needed to convince the world that Messiah has come.
God has woven prophetic tapestry like this from the beginning of time. His first Messianic prophecy concerning the “seed of the woman” (see Genesis 3.15) is but a sample of how skillfully the whole cloth comes together in the Hands of the One with whom we have to do. Events such as the cruel betrayal of Joseph by his brothers, an event which they certainly meant for harm, was used by the Lord to bring about good (see Genesis 50.20). God truly has used the foolish things of this world to confound the wise! Or, as Paul put it, “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (1 Corinthians 1.20).
1. What is the book of Psalms? What was its function in previous ages?
2. What are the various Psalms called which deal extensively with the coming of Jesus?
3. How has God used the seemingly insignificant to confound the wisdom of this world?
4. Read and memorize Genesis 50.20, a verse that will help you through life's troubles.
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