As far as we know from Scripture, clothing was divided into an outer garment and a lower garment. Our Lord also wore a double garment. Jesus wore a chiton over his lower garment. Scripture is silent on details of the Lord’s garments, such as whether they were made of linen or wool but at any rate, not both, for it was not permitted under the Mosaic law.
We do not know what color Jesus real clothes were: white, gray, black, or perhaps dyed another color. But it should be said of what we know: “And the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and divided them into four pieces, a piece for each soldier, and a coat: and the coat was not sewn, but all woven from above.
To fulfill the Scripture that states, “They divided my garments among them, and cast lots for my raiment,” they said to one another, “Let us not shred it, but cast lots for it, whose it should be. So the soldiers did” (John 19:23-24).
So we see that Jesus had other garments in addition to the chiton, so they divided them into four parts. True, it is unclear why the soldiers liked or needed Jesus’ real clothes. Before the crucifixion, Jesus had been severely beaten, and His body was bloody, and the garment may have been in the blood, but despite this, the soldiers cast lots about it.
They most likely took it not as a material possession but as a trophy or a relic for remembrance. However, we can assume that the chiton also constituted some material value. The chiton, however, was not sewn but all woven from above. There were no seams in the chiton.
At one time, Jesus real clothes were touched by a woman suffering from a hemorrhage and was healed by faith. One day, Jesus took off His outer garment and washed His disciples’ feet. The Lord’s chiton, woven from above, is also a wonderful picture of the unity of the Church of Jesus Christ.
From above means from above, from God, and without stitches, which signifies the complete fusion of Jews and Gentiles. Here the divisions between male and female, between enslaved person and Master in the matter of salvation, are erased.
For a short time, Jesus’ real clothes were a purple robe, which they clothed Him in, desiring to degrade Him as much as possible, whereas Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Christ manifested His glory to His three disciples on the Mount of Olives, the mountain of transfiguration. When the disciples awoke, they saw their Master in heavenly splendor: His face shone like the sun, His clothes were white as the light, as shining, very white as snow, as a whitewasher cannot whiten on earth (Matt. 17:2, Mark 9:3, Luke 9:29).
A whitewasher is a person who whitens cloth to whiteness. White symbolizes purity, righteousness, and holiness. So on the Mount of Olives, Jesus real clothes were so white that Evangelist Mark found it necessary to note this by saying, “…as on earth a whitener cannot whiten” (Mark 9:3). That is, divine righteousness, holiness, cannot be achieved by human effort and endeavor – it is achieved with the help of the Heavenly Whiter, Who cleanses us by His precious blood.
When I turned around to look at the voice that had been speaking to me, I noticed seven golden lampstands with one lampstand in the middle of them.
Like a Son of Man, clothed in a robe, and with a golden sash around His wrists: His head and His hair were as white as a white wave, as snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire; and His feet were like a chalcolivan, as red-hot in a furnace; and His voice was like the noise of many waters; He held in His right hand seven stars, and from His mouth went out a sword sharp on both sides, and His face was like the sun shining in its power.
I fell at His feet like a dead man when I saw Him. And He laid His right hand upon me, and said unto me, Fear not; I am the first, and the last, and the living: and I was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Rev. 1:12-18).
Despite the canon’s existence, the saints’ vestments have variations. God of hosts himself is usually depicted as a gray-haired older man with a halo. Jesus real clothes are a white chiton with a pink tint, over which a green cloak-hermitage is thrown. The chiton on the icons was a long, girded shirt with sleeves worn over the head.
Up until the time of the Incarnation of God, the saints invariably wore chiton shirts and cloaks of himation. The colors can vary. The red chiton was Jesus real clothes. The Virgin Mary, the Apostles Peter, Paul, and Andrew are dressed in blue. The chiton of Moses is similar (blue). But Noah’s forefather’s chiton may be either green or pink.
Accordingly, the himation cloak can have different colors. Christ wears a blue himation. Andrew’s cloak is green (like Sabaoth’s). Noah and George the Victorious wear a cinnabar (scarlet) himation over the shirt. Moses is dressed in a pink himation. The apostle Peter is depicted wearing a yellow (ochre) cloak over a blue chiton, and Paul’s cloak is a cherry. Finally, Mary of Egypt is dressed in a himation over her naked body.
The Roman name for chiton is the tunic. In various translations of the Bible, the Russian word Riza (Genesis 3:21) has correspondences as chiton (Septuagint), tunic (Vulgate), and coat (King James Bible). Thus the blue chiton of Our Lady is often called a tunic. The forefather Abraham was also dressed in a tunic. The specific garment of the disheveled and dark-haired John the Baptist is a hair shirt, a coarse, short woolen chiton without sleeves.
The ancients used to say: clothing is an extension of a person. Indeed, by looking at clothing, you can learn a lot about its owner.
Janitors or construction workers at work are dressed in special suits, comfortable and durable. They are also called overalls. Overalls get dirty – they can easily be washed. Torn – no problem: sew them up and get on with your life. This is workwear, so an extra stitch can’t spoil the beauty.
But employees of banks and hotels come to work in neat suits and ironed white shirts with a tie. This is so that visitors to their establishment immediately understand: here reigns order in everything, even in the clothes of each employee. You know the athlete is there if you see a jogger in the park or on the boardwalk wearing tracksuits and sneakers. But there is nothing to say about police officers or soldiers: people in uniforms immediately stand out even in a dense crowd.
In the ancient world, clothes were as “speaking” as nowadays.
One could easily distinguish a beggar vagrant from a warrior and a rich overseas merchant from a noble Roman patrician. And, of course, one could easily recognize a king by his ceremonial robes, even if he was surrounded by the noblest and richest people in the kingdom.
But two thousand years ago, the King of all kings, the incarnate God Jesus Christ, came into the world. What does the Gospel say about Jesus real clothes, the clothes of the Creator of our world? It must have been so resplendent that it outshone in beauty and richness the most lavish garments of the great emperors!
Those who think so would be greatly disappointed. The gospels tell us that the earthly life of Jesus Christ was very humble. Although His mother came from an ancient lineage of the famous King David, there was no wealth or luxury in their home. While Jesus was a child, the family supported themselves through the labor of his named father, Joseph, who worked as a carpenter.
When He grew up, He began to help Joseph in his hard work as a carpenter. Well, what is a carpenter by modern standards? That’s right – an ordinary builder. That’s why Jesus real clothes were the most common. It had none of the luxuries of royal attire, the austerity of military uniforms, nor the beauty of the overseas robes of merchants traveling to distant lands.
Instead, Jesus Christ dressed like thousands of other inhabitants of Israel, who were simple toilers in the sweat of their brows. Perhaps that is why the Gospel does not describe Jesus real clothes, which He used daily.
But there are three places in the Gospel where Jesus real clothes are described. They are all about the terrible day when Jesus was seized and, under a false accusation, decided to suffer a painful death on the cross. In two cases, the story is about Jesus being clothed in someone else’s clothes, and in a third, about his own clothes being taken away and shared.
And each time, the mere mention of clothes here hides a whole story, tragic and full of deep meaning. It is true that not everyone can see this meaning at once, for it is not revealed in the Gospel text. That is why we are going to tell these events in more detail. So here are three stories about the garments of Jesus Christ.
The White Clothes
The first incident of Jesus’ enemies putting foreign clothes on Him took place in the palace of King Herod Antipas.
At that time, the land of Israel was occupied by Roman armies. Pontius Pilate, the Roman Emperor’s governor, was in charge. Jesus was brought to him for trial. The high priests’ servants began to say that Jesus had declared himself King of the Jews and forbade the people to pay tribute to the Roman emperor.
This was a very serious accusation. But Jesus did not look like a rebel or an impostor at all. Normally criminals would deny their guilt or beg for mercy in court. But Jesus stood before Pilate and remained silent.
A puzzled Pilate asked Him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus’ answer puzzled Pilate even more, “You say this.” That is, “You yourself say that I am the King of the Jews.” There was truly royal majesty in those words. However, Jesus’ appearance was not at all regal. At night they seized him and brought him by force to the high priest’s house. Then they put him on trial and sentenced him to death, mocking and slapping his face. But even after that, Jesus stood b.
Pilate thought about it and said to the Jews who had brought Jesus to him, “I find no fault in him. But they were even more indignant, crying out that Jesus had stirred up the whole nation, beginning with Galilee, by his speeches. Galilee was the area in the north of Israel where Jesus had lived with his parents before he went out to preach.
So when Pilate heard that Jesus came from there, he was overjoyed. At that very time, King Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, was in Jerusalem. “Let him deal with his subjects,” Pilate thought. So he sent Jesus to Herod to decide what to do with Him.
Herod was overjoyed when they brought Jesus to him. He had heard about the Master for a long time and hoped to see a miracle from him. But his hopes did not come true. Jesus would not speak to him at all. So Herod did not get half a word out of his many questions. However, the chief priests accused Jesus with all their might.
This is where the first mention of Jesus’ garments appears in the Gospel:
But Herod and his soldiers, having humiliated Him and mocked Him, clothed Him in a light robe and sent Him back to Pilate. And on that day, Pilate and Herod became friends with each other, for they had been at enmity with each other before (Luke 23:11-12).
What “light clothing” is being referred to, and why did this garment on the arrested Jesus suddenly bring the previously irreconcilable enemies together? Light clothing in those days said a great deal about the wearer. At that time, white togas were worn by candidates for public office in the Roman Empire. It was a symbol of purity and non-participation in any violations of the law. The word “candidate” itself means literally – clothed in white, clean.
So why did Herod order Jesus to be dressed in an honorable garment for the highest Roman officials?
On the one hand, it was a mockery of Christ and the Jews who had seized Him: the white garment Jesus had arrested as a candidate for kingship in the country seized by the Romans. On the other hand, they agree with Pilate’s decision to find Jesus innocent.
Herod also considered the Roman governor’s action as a sign of respect for himself since he had acknowledged the right of Herod to try the prisoners in Galilee. He showed him the same respect by confirming Pilate’s decision to prosecute Jesus as an innocent man.
Yes, this robe of light was a direct mockery of Jesus. But God is not mocked. For two thousand years, these garments of light have continued to show the iniquity of the death sentence that the Jews pronounced on the Savior in their judgment. Two witnesses testified to Jesus’ innocence. One was King Herod, governor of Galilee, and the other was Pontius Pilate, the Roman Emperor’s governor in Judea.
The Purple Cloak
The second time someone else’s clothes were put on Jesus in the courtyard of the Praetorium, the place where Pontius Pilate lived.
After His return from Herod’s palace, Jesus was returned to His regular clothes. This was done so that He could once again appear before Pilate in them, not as a pale toga of innocence, but as a defendant whose fate had not yet been decided.
Pilate did not want to execute Jesus because he saw the accusation was in vain. But the Jews were shouting louder and louder, “Crucify Him! There was so much hatred in their shouting that Pilate knew he could not just let Jesus go. The Jews would simply stone Him to death without any judgment.
So to appease the Jews’ rage, Pilate decided to punish Jesus, but at his discretion. He said: “So you have brought this man to me as an embarrassment to the people. Behold, I examined the case in your presence and found him not guilty of anything. Herod also found him innocent; nothing worthy of death was found in him. Therefore, having punished him, I release him.
After these words, Pilate handed Jesus over to his own soldiers, the Praetorians, who dragged him off to the palace in the jungle. They dragged Him into the courtyard, stripped Him of His clothes, and severely beat Him with whips and heavy lashes made of leather.
Why did they put the red cloak of the Roman soldier on the beaten and scourged Jesus, and what was the meaning of this?
The fact is that the Roman emperor wore a special garment. It was a mantle of a very beautiful dark red color. It was made of the finest wool or silk. And it was given this color by a special dye – purple. It was more expensive than gold because the masters strictly kept the secret of its manufacture.
And purple was made from… sea snails! The first to dye cloth with purple inhabitants the country was called Phoenicia. In the vicinity of the ancient Phoenician city of Sidon, a huge pile of empty shells from purple snails was discovered during excavations. The handmade wall of shells stretched up to 120 meters long and 8 meters high. It was the waste of a purple-bearing workshop. To dye just one kilogram of wool, they had to harvest as many as 30,000 snails!
No wonder only the most powerful and wealthy people of the ancient world could afford to wear clothes made of purple cloth.