Now the Coat - A Meditation on John 19. 23
D. A. Tyler, Stodmarsh, Canterbury
When the Lord Jesus Christ was here amongst men as the Word made flesh, He was clothed in the manner applicable to His time. It is noteworthy how the excellencies and richness of His character are to be seen in those clothes.
It is not without significance that we read in Luke 2. 7 that the Christ-child was wrapped in "swaddling clothes" by Mary His mother and laid in a manger. Could anything speak more eloquently of the humanity of our Lord and of His utter dependence upon His earthly parents? Verily God, yet become truly human!
The sinless walk of the Lamb of God is brought to our notice by John the Baptist when he refers to the Lord's shoes, and declares himself unworthy to unloose the latchet thereof, Luke 3. 16. The Lord was pure even to the feet, and perfect in His walk as He trod the pathway of obedience to His Father God.
The transparent character of the Lord is seen upon the mount of transfiguration. "His face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light", Matt. 17. 2. No taint of sin marred either the Person or the raiment of the One whom the Father could declare to be His beloved Son in whom was all His delight and satisfaction.
In John 13. 4, we read that He laid aside His garments and, taking a towel He girded Himself and proceeded to wash His disciples' feet. If swaddling clothes speak of His humanity, the towel surely speaks of His humility. The One who truly was Master and Lord showed Himself to be servant of all.
When the soldiers of the governor took Jesus, they stripped Him and put on Him a scarlet robe and crown of thorns. This was done in mockery, but scarlet and the crown speak of His royalty and kingship. Pilate acknowledged Him to be King of the Jews, but in a coming day the Man Christ Jesus will be acclaimed by all as King of kings and Lord of lords.
"Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout", John 19.23. This seemingly casual statement is profound in its implications. There was no patch or darn, no rent or unevenness of weave; it was complete in one piece. How beautifully this portrays the flawless, perfectly even character of our blessed Lord. He was sinless, spotless and pure.
Although the coat was the outer garment, it concealed no inner imperfections, and even Pilate had to acknowledge that he found in Him no fault at all.
Of none other than the Lord Jesus Christ could the swaddling clothes, the shoes, the towel, the crown and the coat speak so eloquently or convey to our hearts such excellencies.
A crown of glory now He wears, And rich the character He bears,
Exalted on the throne. In songs of sweet untiring praise, We should to everlasting days
Make all His glories known.