New Clothes

New Clothes

Saturday, February 16, 2013

7:30 AM

Luke 23:34 - "And Jesus said, 'Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.'  And they cast lots to divide His garments.


Opening presents at Christmas is one of the great joys of childhood.  This past Christmas my two boys were busy tearing in to the stash that my parents had got them.  Toys, toys, toys,  They ooed over them, they aahed over them.  Everytime they tore into a package with a toy in it they talked about how they were going to play and what they were going to do with those toys.

And then it happened they opened a bag filled up with clothes.  No ooing or aahing, no talking or discussing.  They just picked them up and laid them aside, moving quickly along to find the next toy.  They really aren't fans of clothes. 

Most people are though aren't they? Most people (adults anyway) love the feeling of getting new clothes.  There is something refreshing about it.  When we put them on we feel nice and new and clean.

The soldiers at the foot of Jesus' cross gambled over His clothes, not because they needed new clothes.  Not even because they were going to wear them.  They were torn and stained with blood after all, so putting them on certainly wouldn't make the guards feel clean.

They were gambling over them not because they needed them, or even because they were going to wear them.  They were gambling over them because of pride.  They wanted them so that they could proclaim that they were the ones who were responsible for crucifying Jesus. In their culture the ones who were responsible for the death of the one being crucified took the clothes, like a medal or a trophy.

So whoever won, took His clothes.  Look back at what Jesus said however, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."  They took His clothes, but He wanted to give them something else.  He wanted to give them forgiveness.  Even though they were responsible  for crucifying Him, He wanted to give them forgiveness.  Jesus had taught on "going with someone the extra mile," and here He is putting it into practice.  He loved them so much, He let them take His clothes and He wanted to give them something much more.  He wanted to give them the forgiveness of God.

And with that forgiveness comes righteousness.  They took His clothes, which they weren't going to wear.  He wanted to give them His righteousness to be clothed in.

Romans 13:14 says, "but put on the Lord Jesus Christ," in other words put on His righteousness.  Clothe yourselves with Jesus.  He wants to give us His clothes, not the clothes that the soldiers gambled for but the robe of righteousness.   Isaiah 61:10 says, "He has covered me with the robe of righteousness."  This Messianic prophecy written 700 years before the birth of Christ proclaims a startling truth, Jesus wants to take our sins away and clothe us in His righteousness.  This is what reformer Martin Luther called "the great exchange."

The hymn writer put it this way, "clothed in His righteous alone, faultless to stand before the throne.  On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand."

The soldiers might was sinking sand.  Our righteousness is sinking sand.  The only way that we can truly stand is to stand on Christ, the solid rock.  And the only way that we can stand on Him is through being clothed in His righteousness.  We put on the robe of Christ's righteousness.  We must embrace His forgiveness. Only then can we stand in this life, and only then can we be ready for the next. 

We need new clothes, Jesus offers us His robe of righteousness.  Lets not toss it aside as we look for the toys of the world. So lets embrace His forgiveness and "put on the Lord Jesus Christ"