Hundreds of years. Long before Jesus was born of a virgin in a lowly manger stall in the city of Bethlehem, the psalmist pens a prophetic song sharing details of the Messiah’s death.
“All my bones are on display;
people stare and gloat over me.
They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.” Psalm 22:17-18
Jesus hung naked upon the cross, scourged, battered, near lifeless. The crowd mocked Him as His clothes lay at the foot of the cross. Some gloated and tauntingly demanded that He “save Himself”. Soldiers siezed the opportunity to cast lots, roll the dice, for his robe. They didn’t tear apart the robe, nor shred it for many to receive a souvenir of the crucifixtion. No. They decided someone would get the entire robe. Some soldier would be the envy of them all.
As I read this passage, I am reminded of a book I read when I first became a Christian. “The Robe”. This fictional volume describes the life of the soldier who won the robe in the casting of lots. The story reveals how that soldier’s life changes each time he tries to wear that robe. It takes him through a transforming process of understanding the message of the cross and the Savior who once wore that robe. It’s a powerful rendering of what may have been in the mind of one who possessed Christ’s robe. Yet, it pales in comparison to the reality of the psalmist’s message written before Jesus ever walked upon the earth and healed a woman who touched the hem of that robe:
“Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
They will proclaim his righteousness,
declaring to a people yet unborn:
He has done it!” Psalm 22:30-31
Today we do not need a patch or piece of the crucified Lord’s garments. We do not need a shroud imprinted with our Savior’s face. We do not need to cast lots to wear His robe. We who believe in the risen Lord receive a robe of righteousness that He gave His life for us to wear. We receive His Holy Spirit to walk with us through our difficulties, to guide us through the mountains and valleys. We have our Lord’s presence to give us strength, and power to resist the temptations of the world. We have His assurance that even death cannot separate us from His love. And even in this day, when we read of scoffers and heretics and scorners of His existence and deity, we know that someday:
“All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.” Psalm 22:29
Praise the Lord. “It is finished.” The work to save sinners completed. The day is coming when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is King of kings and LORD of lords. Until then, we who love Him are privileged to continue sharing the old, old story that never dies.
He’s alive. HE’s alive. HE’s ALIVE! Jesus is Alive!