Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "In The Sweet By And By"1 (Lyrics)
John 19:23-24 – When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. They also took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. So they said, "Rather than tearing it apart, let's throw dice for it." This fulfilled the Scripture that says, "They divided my garments among themselves and threw dice for my clothing." So that is what they did. (NLT)
Revelation 19:13,16 – He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords. (NLT)
While searching the Internet, I came across a fascinating discovery located near the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem. The spot is the traditional site of the Antonia Fortress where many believe that Jesus was tried and condemned to death. Centuries later, a convent was built over the ruins. In the basement are large stone slabs into which are carved an ancient dice game that the Roman soldiers used to play. One of the markings is the letter "B" which could stand for the Greek word basilius (king) or the Latin word basilicus, meaning "best throw in dice; the royal/king's throw".
The object of the king's game was to advance markers through a series of boxes or circles on the board by throwing dice. The first to reach the king's tower in the centre was the winner. The squadron in charge of the crucifixion would have been quite familiar with this pastime. Therefore, I wonder whether it was the king's game that they played to gamble for Jesus' clothing. But more importantly, why did the gospel writer want us to know that the robe was seamless, woven from top to bottom? What is its significance in the passion story?
With these thoughts in mind, consider that the enemies of God fulfilled Bible prophecy. But the Roman guards did not understand Who was in control, nor did they know that Jesus was indeed a King. If they had, then His robe would have meant more than material gain; His life, more valuable than their own.
Nevertheless, the story is not finished. John explains that Jesus will return to this earth wearing a robe stained in blood. On that day, there will be no more mocking or playing games at the King's expense. Hence, the whole world will know that He alone is Sovereign of the universe.
So as we celebrate this holy season of Lent, let us examine our hearts. Do we also unwittingly play the king's game? Have we merely gambled for His Majesty's robe without crowning Him Lord of our lives?
Prayer: O Lord, there is no king like You, so full of grace and compassion even for those who mocked You on the cross and gambled for Your clothing. Forgive us, for we, too, have not always given You the honour that Your name deserves. We acknowledge that heaven is Your throne and the earth, a footstool for Your feet. Rule over us with kindness and mercy until the day of Your return when we shall reign with You in righteousness and truth. In Jesus' holy name, we pray. Amen.