John 19. 23-24
23 Then, when the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took His clothes and divided them into four parts, each soldier receiving a part, also the under garment. This was seamless, from the top to bottom throughout.
24 Then they said to one another: “Let us not tear it, but let us cast lots to see who should have it”. This was so that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “They divided My clothes amongst themselves, and for My garment they cast a lot”. This then is what the soldiers did.
W Barclay sheds some interesting light on these two verses. He tells us that there were four soldiers who were detailed to escort criminals to the place of execution. These four soldiers had the special privilege of dividing the criminals clothing amongst themselves. There were five items of clothing that every Jew wore: shoes, turban, girdle, tunic, and outer robe.
Barclay suggests that it was these items of clothing that the soldiers divided amongst themselves. This would seem to fit in with the fact that they divided four of the items between them. However, this left the inner tunic, which was a single woven piece of material. The soldiers thought that it would be ruined if they cut it up between the four of them. Therefore, they cast lots for it.
One of the wonders of the word of God is its prophetic nature. The dividing of the clothing of Jesus and the casting of lots is prophesied by David in the Old Testament:
They divide My clothes among themselves and throw dice for My garments – Psalm 22.18 (NLT). This was centuries before the crucifixion of Jesus.
God knows all things; He looks down through the ages and knows all that is going to happen. He sees the end from the beginning. Nothing comes as a surprise to Him. We are very limited in our understanding of things, and many things may come as a complete surprise.
God’s word tells us:
We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps – Proverbs 16.9 (NLT).
We must always be thankful for the interventions that our Heavenly Father makes in our lives. This is especially true of our salvation.
The Roman soldiers may have chosen an item of clothing for themselves. The great thing is that our Heavenly Father has chosen us for salvation:
- Even as He chose us in Him before the creation of the world for us to be holy and blameless before His face, in love
- deciding beforehand for us to be adopted as sons for Himself, through Jesus Christ, according to the kindly intent of His will – Ephesians 1.4-5.
Let us give thanks to God for choosing us to be heirs of His great salvation.