Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece.
They said therefore among themselves, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be," that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says:
"They divided My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots."
Therefore the soldiers did these things.
To ‘cast lots’ seems like gambling, the throwing of dice to determine an outcome, but it was also seen in past times as an expression of divine will; hence the expression ‘divination’, which is sometimes eluded to. The story makes mention of this in all four gospels, and the purpose of this is expressly to confirm the prophecy, from Psalm 22 that for my clothing they cast lots. Those Roman soldiers were bidding for possession of our Lord’s clothing — ‘the shirt off His back’ as we might say nowadays — a souvenir of The Messiah’s crucifixion.
I cannot imagine that most participants in this moment had the least inkling of the importance of this time in history. Some, maybe, but most — as is always the case — are more concerned with their day-to-day lives. Let us be honest with ourselves and recognise that this is us also — at least before our Lord got hold of us.
The puzzle for me is why the casting of lots for His garments is so important as to be mentioned in every gospel rendition. It is thus important in all creation. (“the fourth thing, and the number four always has reference to all that is created”. — E W BULLINGER ‘Number In Scripture’)
I am speculating here, but I believe that His garments represent God’s covering — and at the crucifixion, our Jesus was stripped of that — And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" [Mark 15:34] — and so our Lord had to be stripped of that Divine covering in the natural as well as the spiritual realms to allow Him to descend into the deepest depths of the pit for us.
I feel so dreadfully humbled at that thought, but also so elevated and encouraged at the same time. We should see that deepest understanding in this circumstance. Jesus divested Himself of all things that He is — the light of the world — to become ultimate darkness and nothingness; by taking to Himself every sin of ours. Why? To be our Saviour!
We must realise that in our darkest moments — in the turmoil and confusion — our Lord Jesus Christ has been there before us, suffered for us, so that we can be presented clean and perfect before the Father. That is love beyond measure.
MEDITATE ON THESE THINGS
For dogs have surrounded Me;
The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.
They pierced My hands and My feet;
I can count all My bones.
They look and stare at Me.
They divide My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots.
But You, O LORD, do not be far from Me;
O My Strength, hasten to help Me!
O LORD, YOUR TENDERNESS / SUCH LOVE — Graham Kendrick and Nicki Rogers
LOVE with all your STRENGTH
THE LOVE OF God in Christ Jesus is such that He can take the most unfit man - unfit to survive, unfit to fight, unfit to face moral issues -and make him not only fit to survive and to fight, but fit to face the biggest moral issues and the strongest power of Satan, and come off more than conqueror.
[from ‘Run Today’s Race’ by Oswald Chambers]
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MEDITATE ON THESE THINGS…
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
GEORGE and GILL STEWART