A Gamble I’d Rather Lose

Have you ever gambled and lost? Have you ever felt good about it?

In the Gospel of John, we read about some soldiers who cast lots to try to win a free garment. If I were one of those soldiers, I think I would have opted out.

The story goes like this: “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.” (19:23-24)

(It seems likely that this was a common practice among Roman soldiers. To strip their prisoner naked, flog them, parade them through town to the crucifixion site, and keep their clothes for themselves)

Think about it for a minute. If you were one of the 4 soldiers responsible for crucifying the Lord of Glory, would you really want to wear his tunic afterward? (Especially if you overheard the centurion proclaim, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!” Or if you learned about His resurrection a few days later… What would you say if He appeared to you and asked for it back?)

The interesting thing for Christians is that, even though the thought of wearing our crucified Savior’s tunic may make us uneasy, in Romans 13:14, Paul encourages believers to “…put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh.” As followers of Jesus, we have the privilege of daily being clothed in the righteousness of Christ. We can “put Him on” and live completely for His glory (the way He lived for His Father’s!)

I’m grateful to not have been among those soldiers, but I am also grateful that I can say with Isaiah, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (61:10).

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