Have you ever been sitting around, and some obscure thought pops into your head? Something from left field? Something you have no idea where it came from?
Well, mine was, “What’s the deal with swaddling, and what about all the other clothes/cloths Jesus was associated with?” So off I go to search the web and the Bible.
The swaddling cloth: As we hear each Christmas during the reading of the birth of Jesus in Luke 2:7, “And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manager”… Other versions say wrapped him in swaddling clothes. The baby was wrapped tightly to protect himself.
According to stories going around, but not substantiated, the sacrificial lambs were swaddled. Their legs were wrapped in a cloth to not hurt themselves before being sacrificed. The lambs had to be blemished free.
So when the Angels told the shepherds they would find the babe lying in a manage in swaddling clothes, they would know who he was, the Messiah.
Swaddling was not something new. The method of swaddling goes back to King Solomon’s time. Solomon was swaddled in the Apocrypha collection of writings in the Wisdom of Solomon (also known as the book of Wisdom).
Wisdom of Solomon 7:4-22
- 4 I was nursed in swaddling clothes, and that with care.
- 5 For there is no king that had any other beginning of birth.
It is only fitting that our King would be wrapped in Swaddling clothes.
The purple robe: Wearing purple in Biblical times meant power, position, and wealth. It was a color not easily made. A million marine snails were needed just to make a small amount of dye. Purple was used in the tabernacle curtains and in the garments Aaron and the priests wore. So when Pilate had a purple/scarlet robe put on Jesus, it was to signify His power and position. Matthew 27:28 They stripped him and put a purple robe on him” They kept saying to him “Hail King of the Jews!” and striking him in the face.
The Tunic: John 19:19 “Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” When the crucifixion was over, the solders divided Jesus’ clothes but drew lots for his tunic. The seamless tunic was believed to be a type of undergarment the priests were instructed to wear from the time of Aaron. The seamless garment mentioned only by John points directly to the fact that Christ is the High Priest of the New Covenant.
The burial cloth: Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took the body of Jesus and anointed it with spices, and wrapped it in linen cloths as was the burial custom. When Jesus rose from the dead on that third day, the burial clothing was left on the table. When Simon Peter entered the tomb, he found only the cloth, not Jesus’ body. Jesus had no use for it. He was alive!
The linen napkin: used to cover Jesus’ face when he was laid in the tomb after his crucifixion was neatly folded. In Jewish tradition, a servant would set his master’s table just so. The napkin would be folded and placed on the table. If the master finished his meal, he would wipe his face, beard, and hands, wad the napkin up, and toss it on the table. The servant then knew it was time to clear the table. However, if the master neatly folded his napkin, placed it on the table, and then left it for a time, the servant knew not to disturb the master’s place. He was coming back. When John and Simon Peter got to the open tomb, Simon Peter went in. He found the face covering neatly rolled up in a place by itself. Jesus will return.
So what of idol thoughts? They make us explore and search for answers. In my case, they gave me a new perspective on scripture verses I have heard numerous times.
Through clothing alone, I found that Jesus is who he said he is and will do what he says he will do.
The swaddling clothes: Jesus came to cover and protect us.
The purple robe: Jesus is our King. He came to bring His Kingdom to Earth.
The tunic: Christ is the High Priest of the New Covenant.
The linen burial cloth: Jesus is not dead. He Lives!
The linen napkin: Jesus will return!
All reminders of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen!