Monday, March 22, 2010

A Loincloth or a Robe?

If you were naked and someone offered you either a loincloth or a full robe, which would you choose? I know what my choice would be. I would want the robe! I would grab for that which would give me the most covering and the most warmth! For me, I sure do not want to be exposed in the first place for all to see my imperfections. Secondly, I would not feel safe or secure without any clothing to protect me.

So you ask," I wonder why Ange is writing about robes, and loin cloths and nakedness?" Well, to be honest, I have been looking at the cross. The cross where Jesus hung. His flesh was not only stripped bare but his mutilated tissue hung from his bones after all the beatings and poundings. This is not a pretty thought. Yet it was the heart of love that makes this ghastly view a most lovely sight.

Jesus the Savior of the world hung naked, completely raw on the cross. Many paintings you see of the Christ on the Cross, you notice He is donned with a loincloth. However, Matthew 27 says , "And they stripped Him and put on Him a scarlet robe." There is no indication that his mockers dressed him in a little loincloth. The loincloth seems right and appropriate to the limited artists who present Christ with His private parts covered. Wonder why? Maybe it was that they painted what they thought we could only ""stand to see". However, Isaiah 52:10 states, "The Lord hath made BARE his holy arm."

So why the loincloth? I ask again, why do we see it in every photo we see painted of Jesus? Honestly, I believe it is a representation of our human tendency to always cover ourselves up. There are things in our lives that we struggle with in which we try to keep hidden. We tend to hide our humanity underneath the man made loincloth of religiosity. We stay so busy and burdened trying to cover up only that which God can cover and has already covered. Let's look at Matthew 27:28 again.


He was stripped down to his bare skin and then his bare skin was literally stripped from his bones. His abusers mocked Him further by dressing Him in a scarlet robe. Yet this was actually a foretelling of what the sacrificial death of the lamb of God meant. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, King of Glory was made naked and wounded so that His royal red blood could flow and and cover us. We have been given His scarlet blood robe and we are covered at all times. Yet we still try to cover ourselves with a flimsy loincloth! Why is it that we settle for so little when we already have it all?Come on church, we must wake up! We must stop focusing on hiding our private parts and trust that we are dressed in the best!! When we finally can get that deep within us, we know we are free to be vulnerable and real about our humanity. For it is within the reality of our humanity where the brokenhearted will find the Savior!!

However, to be perfectly honest, there have been too many times in my weakness where I have chosen to wear the loin cloth when I had already been given a robe. I think it has been mostly due to fear of man and maybe an unhealthy fear of God. When Adam and Eve sinned against God in the garden, they were suddenly afraid of God. So they constructed prickly loincloths to cover only what God could cover for them. Friends, God's provision for our nudity is the blood alone! Through Him we are clothed with scarlet robes of righteousness. What great news! We can dispose of those hideous loincloths!

So, if I am dressed in the finest attire, I do not have to worry about being naked, right? Well yes and no. My clothing is on at all times, it can never be stripped. So since I am hidden in Him, I can be free to be me in all my humanity. Therefore, I feel that if we could start being more real with ourselves, with God , and with others, we would see more people being healed. We the church would see more people coming to Christ because it is in our transparency that others will be drawn to Jesus Christ.

In our natural way, we do not want people to know we have struggles with finances. We do not want people to see that we might lose our house, or that we are on our way to bankruptcy. We do not want others to know that one of kids got his girlfriend pregnant or that our daughter is a homosexual Deeper still , we sure do not want others to see that we struggle with things like jealousy and insecurity!. It is the loincloth of shame that keeps up from being real with each other. However, if we could ever grasp the fact that the robe is on, then we could be fearless to share with others our own weaknesses and struggles.

In our human pride we honestly want others to think we have it all together. That is a shabby loincloth. And it is the loincloth of pride that often divides us from reaching people. Hurting people want to connect with others who are hurting or who have been hurt. When we dress ourselves in our fake religious suits, others see us and think,"Wow, she has it all together. I could never be like that or get to that place. Many times that makes people run from us, from the church and from Jesus because we have misrepresented a naked God!

In closing I encourage you to insert this genuine vision within your heart. Jesus hanging between two prisoners. His wrists are pierced and grounded to the cross. On each side of those bleeding hands are two "no gooders" as everyone else thought. However, in Christ's most painful and most vulnerable moment, offers hope and courage to the two captives. I can almost imagine a conversation taking place where Jesus says through gritted teeth"I understand how much this hurts. It hurts me too. These nails in my hands and feet are killing me. I know what you mean guys." You see Jesus was REAL. It was in his transparency and nakedness that the one prisoner believed and cried out to the only ONE who could save Him... the One who hung naked and real before all who mocked and misunderstood Him. Yet the one prisoner found the One who could relate to. The One and Only who could only dress him in an eternal robe knit together perfectly with His own precious blood.

So which do you choose? The loincloth or the robe? Remember if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior you are dressed in the dripping red robe of righteousness. Furthermore, by being real and naked before yourself, God and others, that ONE prisoner may find hope and a life worth living!!

With His love in me!


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