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THE NAKEDNESS OF JESUS

by Dr. C. L. Cagan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, March 31, 2019

“Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did” (John 19:23, 24).


Jesus was crucified on Mount Calvary. The men who put the nails in His hands and feet were Roman soldiers. There were four of them. Jesus had on five pieces of clothing, and four of them were given to the soldiers, one each. But they didn’t want to rip His tunic (His long shirt), which is called “his coat” in the King James Version. It was woven “without seam.” Starting from the neck, it was woven straight down, and they didn't want to rip it in pieces. So they gambled, and the winner got it.

The Old Testament Scriptures had predicted hundreds of years before that this would happen to the Messiah (cf. Psalm 22:18). They were going to divide up His clothes, and they were going to cast lots (gamble) for His cloak, rather than tear it in pieces. The Scriptures were fulfilled exactly. The end of verse 24 says, “These things therefore the soldiers did.”

Now I am going to tell you something very surprising that may shock you. Listen carefully. Jesus was crucified without any clothes on. When you see a painting of Jesus, or when you see a crucifix, they put a little piece of cloth over Him. If you've seen a movie of the crucifixion, they show a little piece of cloth over His body, something like a towel, to cover the personal parts of His body. But that is done as a courtesy to Jesus, out of politeness. That's done out of respect for Jesus and for His dignity. But in fact, when Jesus was crucified, He was crucified naked, without clothes. That was the way they crucified all their victims. It was very humiliating and very embarrassing. That's one part of the punishment, the terrible experience that Jesus went through, that most people don't know about. But don't just think, “I didn't know that before. He said Jesus was naked!” Think about what this means for you, because this has very important truths in it for you. This morning I will bring out four of them.

I. First, the nakedness of Jesus shows how worthless your goals
in life are.

When Jesus was crucified, He didn't have anything with Him. He had no clothes. He had no money. His disciples had left Him. Peter had denied Him. People were railing at Him. Jesus had nothing – literally nothing. All He had was His own body. Even His body had been whipped with a Roman scourge. Blood was coming out of His back, and He had a crown of thorns on His head, and nails through His hands and feet. He had nothing except His body, and even that was abused and broken.

This shows how worthless your goals in life really are. There are some who think it is very important to get ahead in life, and make a lot of money. Your goal is to do well in school, or work, so you can make more money. Now, there's nothing wrong with having a job or going to school. But if that’s more important than God, Christ and the church, it's wrong. Your goal of getting ahead and making money will be worthless when you die.

Job said, “Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither” (Job 1:21). When a person is born, he doesn't have anything with him. He's naked. When you die and you're buried, they can put clothes on your body in the coffin, but those clothes don’t do you any good – because your soul has already gone to Heaven if you're converted, or to Hell if you're not.

The Apostle Paul said the same thing as Job, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (I Timothy 6:7). Your possessions are worthless in the end. You came into this world with nothing, and you'll leave it with nothing.

I've taught mathematics at several colleges. At one of them, they gave me an office. They said the man who had that office before me was sick and they didn't think he would be able to come back. He died not long afterward. On the wall of his office were rows upon rows of books, fancy plaques and degrees, showing how smart he was. All his papers for thirty years were there. And I watched as two men put all his things in boxes and hauled them away. So much for thirty years of teaching. That was all his education was worth in the end. And I thought that if I went along like he did, someday two men would come in and pack up my degrees and my books and haul them off, and that would be the end of that for me, too. It would be just a bunch of junk, not worth much of anything.

Some of you remember Hugh Hefner. He was famous, for he was the publisher and editor of Playboy Magazine, the first magazine to publish pictures of women without clothes. That made him rich. His house was sold for $100 million dollars. He had sex with hundreds of women. But he couldn’t take his money and his women with him. He died alone and went to Hell. The Bible says,

“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (I Timothy 6:7).

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When you're dead, it won't matter how much money you had, or how much fun you had, or what you did on your computer. It won’t matter if you went to church – if you went without trusting Jesus. There's only one thing that will matter. Did you trust Jesus?

There is one thing you will take with you when you die. That is your soul. But you have neglected the salvation of your soul. You've let it go week after week, month after month, year after year. Your soul will be in Heaven or Hell forever. You've neglected the one thing that counts – and everything else that you've spent your life on is trash! The Bible says,

“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?”
        (Hebrews 2:3).

You neglect your salvation, and you will not escape. You will lose the one thing that really is important – your soul.

II. Second, the nakedness of Jesus shows how empty your hopes are.

Some of you think you’re OK, but you’re not. Jesus tells you this,

“Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17).

You are naked, and you don't even know it. You say, “I'm OK. I think I might get to Heaven.” But you are naked, and you don't even know it. In front of God, you don't have anything to cover your sin. You say, “I’ll learn more. I hope I can be saved some day.” You think you’ve got something. But you are poor, and blind, and naked.

God cannot look at sin. He is too holy to look at sin. When Jesus took your sin in His own body on the Cross, God turned away from His Son. Then Jesus said, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). That wasn't an empty question. God the Father really did forsake Jesus while He was on the Cross, carrying your sin.

Now, if you don't get some clothes on, to cover your sin, the same thing is going to happen to you. You're going to come before God without the right clothes, and God is going to turn His back on you, like He did with Jesus, and you will be thrown into Hell, because your sins have never been washed away by the Blood of Jesus. You have never been clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Jesus said what would happen to you. He said,

“There [was] a man which had not on a wedding garment: And [God] saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 22:11-13).

Only the Blood of Jesus can clothe you with righteousness. The Bible says, “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7).

You say, “I'm going to change and live a better life.” But even if you lived a perfect life from now on, the sins of your past are all written in God's record, in God's books. You must have your sins blotted out of God's books by the Blood of Christ! You must be clothed in the Blood and righteousness of Christ!

You say, “I have prayed the sinner's prayer.” But that will not cover your sin. You are still naked in front of God. You say, “I believe the plan of salvation. I believe that Jesus died for me. I believe that He can save me.” But your believing “that” will not cover your sin. You are still naked in the sight of God.

What are the right clothes? Jesus said, “I counsel thee to buy of me…white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed” (Revelation 3:18). There is only one way you can get the right clothes, so you won't be naked in front of God. You have to get the clothing from Jesus Himself. You have to be clothed in His righteousness, and have your sins washed away by His Blood. If you are not covered in that way, you are naked in front of God.

III. Third, the nakedness of Jesus shows how bad your sin is.

It was humiliating and embarrassing for Jesus to be crucified naked in front of people. You wouldn't want to go through that. But other things happened to Jesus that made it far worse.

He was scourged with a Roman whip and His body was laid open, down to the bones of His back. He had a crown of thorns pushed deep into the flesh of His head by people who hated Him. They beat Him in the face and pulled out pieces of His beard. Nails were pounded into His hands and His feet.

Why did He go through that? When you see a picture of Jesus, they don’t make it look as bad as it really was. In most movies and paintings, they show a few spots of Blood on His head and a little on His hands and feet, and that's about it. He looks fairly normal. But on the Cross Jesus didn’t look like a normal man. He looked horrible. The Bible teaches that He was so disfigured that people turned their heads away and didn't want to look at Him. The Bible says, “His visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men” (Isaiah 52:14).

You may think, “Did it have to be that bad?” Yes, it did, because your sinful heart is that bad. The Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). Think of the selfishness of your heart. And since you don’t trust Jesus, the Bible says you have an “evil heart of unbelief [refusal to trust]” (Hebrews 3:12). The Greek word for “belief” can be translated “trust.” You have an evil heart, not trusting Jesus!

Why did Jesus suffer and die, naked on the Cross? What has it got to do with you? Jesus suffered in your place, for your sin, so you wouldn’t have to pay for it yourself. Jesus suffered and died because there was no other way to pay for your sin. Jesus had to suffer a Bloody, horrible, humiliating death. He died and poured out His Blood on the Cross because that was the only way to pay for your sins, and cover them over, so you wouldn't be naked before God. The New Testament says, “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered” (Romans 4:7).

Jesus went through all that because He loves you. Some people think Jesus is angry with them because of their sin. No! Jesus loves you even though you have sinned. Jesus loves a sinner like you. That is why He went through that painful and shameful crucifixion – because He loves you and wants to forgive you and justify you and save you. There was no other way to pay for your sin. His love for you sent Him to the Cross – because He loves you! Trust Jesus and be washed in His Blood.

IV. Fourth, the nakedness of Jesus shows how simple salvation is.

On the Cross, Jesus was there and nothing else. Jesus is the Person you need to come to. Jesus is the Person you need to trust. The Bible says, “Look unto me, and be ye saved” (Isaiah 45:22). Look right to Jesus and be forgiven by His Blood. All your sin will be forgiven, once and for all, if you will trust Him.

Some of you want to put clothes on Jesus that weren’t there. You want to wrap him in feelings. You want to wrap Him in a “sinner’s prayer.” You want to wrap Him in words and doctrine, “I believe that Christ died for me.” But there was nothing on the Cross that day but Jesus Himself. You must trust Jesus Himself. The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). That’s all!

You are the one who has made salvation hard and complicated. But it’s simple. The One who will save you is right there – Jesus on the Cross. Nothing else! Just Jesus! That's all! This is Jesus – that's all! On the Cross, Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). That's all! There He is! That's all.

You say, “You mean all I have to do is trust Jesus?” Yes! There He is! That's all! It is finished! Trust Him today!


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(END OF SERMON)
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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Jack Ngann:
      “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” (by Dr. Isaac Watts, 1674-1748).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE NAKEDNESS OF JESUS

by Dr. C. L. Cagan

“Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did” (John 19:23-24).

I.    First, the nakedness of Jesus shows how worthless your goals in
life are, Job 1:21; I Timothy 6:7; Hebrews 2:3.

II.   Second, the nakedness of Jesus shows how empty your hopes are,
Revelation 3:17; Matthew 27:46; Matthew 22:11-13; I John 1:7;
Revelation 3:18.

III.  Third, the nakedness of Jesus shows how bad your sin is,
Isaiah 52:14; Jeremiah 17:9; Hebrews 3:12; Romans 4:7;

IV.  Fourth, the nakedness of Jesus shows how simple salvation is,
Isaiah 45:22; Acts 16:31; John 19:30.