Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Post: What Did Jesus Wear?

When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,

“They divided my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.” (Psalm 22:18)

So this is what the soldiers did.
– John 19:23-24

This scripture has recently peaked my interest, because it offers clues to what Jesus wore at the end of his life on earth. We learn that:

- there were four soldiers that crucified Jesus, and they wanted to divide his clothes into four parts.

- the undergarment (or knee-length tunic) was too valuable to be torn, since it was made from a single piece of cloth, without a seam.

My guess is that the seamless tunic (also called the Chaluq, Kittuna, or colobium) was so valuable, they cast lots for it, even though it would have undoubtably been bloody. The other three pieces may have been his outer cloak/prayer shawl (Tallith or Goltha), a turban or other headgear, and his sandals.

I also speculate that maybe they cast lots because there were four of them and only three articles of clothing. (Perhaps Jesus was not wearing headgear or his prayer shawl at the time.) However, it does mention in John 13:4 that the previous night, Jesus was wearing an outer garment of some kind, whether a cloak or a prayer shawl. He removes it to wash his disciples’ feet.

The prayer shawl was a square garment that bore tassels at the corners in fulfillment of the commands in Numbers 15:38-39 and Deuteronomy 22:12 as a reminder to obey the laws of the Lord. The strands that made up the tassel probably included at least one of hyacinth (light violet to moderate purple) color and several strands of white.

There is another scripture that points to what Jesus wore to the cross. It mentions in Matthew 27:31 that the soldiers removed the royal robe they had put on him to mock him as King of the Jews, and put his own clothes on him. After all, in order for him to be flogged, they would have taken his own clothing off.

Beyond these basic speculations of what kind of clothing Jesus wore, I have further questions. Did he dress like a working class man? Or did he dress as a rabbi consistent with the times? He was widely regarded as a teacher and rabbi, and taught in the Temple and in synagogues. Did his ministry role require him to dress a certain way?

My friends, I hope you have a wonderful Easter and take time to reflect on the sacrifice and the resurrection of Jesus!


  1. Very interesting post, darling!

    Happy Easter!


  2. While his clothes probably we're flashy, they were definitely well made and assumingly attractive. They hated this guy, but had enough sense to value nice clothes.
    I'm thinking the modern day equivalent of a tailor-made suit.
    No off the rack gear for the King of Kings!


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