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THE NAKEDNESS OF JESUS

by Dr. Christopher Cagan

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, January 7, 2001

 

Introduction by Dr. Hymers: Dr. Christopher Cagan is a deacon and the Director of Education at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle. Dr. Cagan holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from UCLA, a Master of Divinity from Talbot Theological Seminary, a second Ph.D. in apologetics from the Claremont Graduate School, and an Litt.D. from Louisiana Baptist Theological Seminary. Listen carefully now to his message.
Message by Dr. Cagan: Please turn to John, chapter nineteen, verse twenty-three:
"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" (John 19:23).
Jesus was crucified on Mount Calvary. The ones who physically put the nails in His hands were Roman soldiers. And there were four of them. Jesus had on five articles of clothing, and four of them were given to the soldiers, one each. But His tunic, or His coat, they didn't want to rip. It was woven "without seam" - starting from the neck, it was woven straight down, and they didn't want to rip it in pieces.
Now look at verse twenty-four:
"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 19:24).

The Old Testament Scriptures had predicted, hundreds of years ahead of time, that this was going to happen to the Messiah (cf. Psalm 22:18). They were going to divide up His clothes, and they were going to cast lots (i.e. gamble with dice) for this cloak of His, rather than tear it in pieces. And the Scriptures were fulfilled exactly. Read the end of verse 24: "These things therefore the soldiers did."

Now I am going to tell you something very surprising that may shock several of you. Listen carefully. Jesus was crucified without any clothes on. Now, when you see a painting of Jesus, or when you see a crucifix, they put a little piece of cloth over Him. And 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 actual fact, when Jesus was crucified, He was crucified naked, without clothes. That was very humiliating and very embarrassing. I'm sure you'll agree. That's one part of the punishment, the terrible experience that Jesus went through, that most people don't know about. But in thinking about these verses, I have found that the nakedness of Jesus has a lot to say to us tonight. So I want you to listen very carefully to the message that I'm going to give. But first, Mr. Griffith, our deacon, will come to sing for us:
When I survey the wondrous cross                         
On which the Prince of glory died,                          
My richest gain I count but loss,                          
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,                          
Save in the death of Christ my God!                          
All the vain things that charm me most,                          
I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet,                          
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!                          
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,                          
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,                          
That were a present far too small:                          
Love so amazing, so divine,                          
Demands my soul, my life, my all.                          
          ("When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" by Isaac Watts,
                1674-1748)
Turn to John, chapter nineteen, verse twenty-three:
"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).
Tonight I'm going to speak on the nakedness of Jesus. Contrary to a painting you may have seen, which has a little piece of cloth over Him for the sake of courtesy, Jesus was actually crucified naked - in the most humiliating and degrading way you could imagine. This might surprise or even shock some of you. But I don't want you just to think, "My, I didn't know that before. Wow! He said Jesus was naked!" No, I don't want you to just think that. I want to move into what this has to do with you, because this has some very important truths in it for you. And I want you to listen to me carefully.

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

Now, when Jesus was crucified, He didn't have anything with Him. He had no clothes. He had no money. He had no house. He had no friends. His disciples had abandoned Him. The others were railing at Him. Jesus had nothing - literally nothing. All He had was His own body. And even that had been whipped with a Roman scourge. His back had just been whipped, and 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 at all except His body. And even that was abused and broken.
This shows you how worthless your goals in life really are. There are some people in this church tonight for whom it is very important to get ahead in life, and make a lot of money. And because of that you work on Sunday, instead of making time for God in church. Or, you study on Sunday, instead of making time for God in church. Your goal is to do well in school, or work, so you can make more money. And your goal in life of a high-class job and making a lot of money, and becoming somebody important, is of great value to you. It is so important to you that you don't have time for God in church every Sunday.
Now, there's nothing wrong with having a job, or going to school, but if that becomes more important than God, and you don't have time for church, it's wrong. And your goal of getting ahead and making money is going to be worthless some day.
Job said, a long time ago, "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither" (Job 1:21). When any person is born, he doesn't have anything with him. He's just naked. And when you die and you're buried, they can put clothes on your body in the coffin, but the fact is that those clothes don't really do you any good - because your soul is gone to Heaven (if you're converted) or to Hell (if you're not).
The Apostle Paul wrote, "For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out" (I Timothy 6:7). Your goods are ultimately worthless. You came into this world without anything, and you'll leave it without anything.
Some of you may have read about a man named Robert Maxwell, who died a few years ago. He was a publisher, and had hundreds of millions of dollars. He owned newspapers and magazines, and many other things. He fell off of his boat in the ocean, and drowned. They found his body floating in the water. There was a lot of talk in the newspapers about what would happen to his papers and magazines. "Maybe it will all fall down now that he's gone," they said. But I can promise you, whether it fell down or not, it's not doing him any good now. Right now that man is burning in the flames of Hell. Now he would trade everything to be able to come back and have a chance to be saved, but it's now too late for him, and it will soon be too late for you.
For some of you, the most important thing in life is getting an education. Now, I've got quite a bit of education. I've got two doctor's degrees. But I didn’t miss church to get them. I went to school and worked in the church at the same time, and Dr. Hymers did the same thing.
I've taught mathematics at several colleges. At one college, they gave me an office. They said that the man who had that office before me was sick and they didn't think he would be able to come back. I suppose he died in a few months. And on the wall of his office were rows upon rows of books, and fancy plaques and degrees, showing how smart he was. All of his papers for thirty years were there. And I watched as two Spanish men, who had been hired, put all of his things in boxes and hauled it all away. So much for thirty years of teaching. I watched as they packed up his things and moved them out so I could have that room. That was all his education was worth at the end. And I thought that if I went along like he did, someday down the road there'd be two men who 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 live for pleasure. It's very important for you to have illicit sex, before or without marriage, with your boyfriend or girlfriend, or whoever you meet up with. Well, that's a worthless goal too. I'll tell you who had that goal - Magic Johnson - who had his two hundred, or maybe two thousand girls, and now he's slowly dying of AIDS. And when he dies and goes to Hell, none of his times of pleasure will do him one bit of good. All those girls won't do him any good at all.
Some others of you are interested in taking drugs or getting drunk and partying. That won't do you one bit of good when you're dead.
Some others of you are so busy with your errands, and your work, with your "mandados" in life, that you have no time for God, no time for regular church attendance. I met a man who was so busy with various things he had to do that he had no time for church, and he was going to Hell.
Some of you think the most important thing is having fun with your friends and your family. That's OK, but if it's more important than church it's wrong. I talked to a man who told me that the most important thing in life was having fellowship with his family. But he got sick, and he was dying. And he was upset because his family was going on with their parties and he was dying.
"For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out" (I Timothy 6:7).
I knew a man who hid from his problems by watching television hour after hour, every night. He knew that he was going to die, but instead of facing up to it, and planning for it, he watched television for six to eight hours each night, trying to pretend that everything was OK. But he still had no time to come to church, no time for God.
My friend, if you took even half of your TV time and put it into church, you'd have plenty of time for God! And when you're dead, it won't matter what TV programs you watched. You can't even remember them a week later anyway.
When you're dead, it won't matter what sports events you went to. There's only one thing that will matter. You see, there is one thing you take with you when you die. You are born with one thing and you die with one thing. That is your soul. When you're born, you have your soul - and nothing else. When you die, you have your soul - and nothing else. You have neglected the one thing that's important. You've let it go. Your soul will be in Heaven forever or in Hell forever. And you haven't made the time to come to church and get converted through the Blood of Jesus. And so, 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).

And that's what you've been doing. You have been neglecting your salvation. Oh, you might say some words, and say you're a Christian - but in fact you're pretty happy with the way you are - you neglect your salvation. You're not converted, and it looks like you're not going to be.

In your sleeping, stubborn state, you neglect your salvation, and you're going to lose the one thing that really is important - your soul. You are going to go to Hell, and burn forever.


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

There are some people who think they are OK, but they aren't. Jesus tells them 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 fine. I'm a Christian. I'm OK. I think I might get to Heaven." And you are naked, and you don't even know it. In front of God, you don't have anything to cover your sins.

Jesus was naked on the Cross. And God put all of our sins onto Him - on that Cross. And Jesus allowed Himself to go through all that because He loves you.
God cannot look at sin. He is too holy to look at sin. When Jesus took your sins in His own body on the Cross, God turned away from His Son. And Jesus said, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46). That wasn't just an empty question. God the Father really did forsake Jesus while He was on the Cross, carrying your sins.
Now if you don't get some clothes on, to cover your sins, 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 and you have never been clothed in the righteousness of Christ. The Bible says:
"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 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, you're already condemned by the sins you committed in the past! Your past sins alone will put you in Hell. The sins of your past are all recorded 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. I'm OK." Sorry, that will not cover your sins. You are still naked in front of God.
You say, "I believe the plan of salvation." Sorry, that will not cover your sins. You are still naked in the sight of God.
Then 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, so you won't be forsaken and cut off from God, as Jesus was. You have to get the clothing of righteousness from Jesus, Himself. You have to be clothed in His righteousness, and have your sins washed away by His Blood. And if you are not converted by Jesus Christ, then you are naked in front of God.

III. Now, thirdly, the nakedness of Jesus shows how bad your sins are.

It was humiliating and embarrassing for Jesus to be crucified naked in front of great crowds of people. You wouldn't want to go through that. But there were some other things that happened to Jesus too, that made it even more humiliating and embarrassing and more painful.
He was whipped 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 by the roots. Nails were pounded into His hands and His feet.
Why did He go through all of that? When you see a picture of Jesus, they never make it as bad as it really was. In the 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 the fact is that 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.
Now, why did Jesus allow Himself to go through all that? What has that got to do with you? Jesus went through that so you wouldn't have to go through that in Hell. Jesus suffered great pain in your place, so you wouldn't have to suffer great pain in Hell.
Jesus went through horrible suffering and humiliation because there was no other way to pay for your sins. There was no other way for you to get to Heaven and not to go to Hell. Jesus had to suffer a Bloody, horrible, humiliating death. And 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).
You could never get to Heaven by what you call "repenting." You could never get to Heaven by trying to live a better life. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, had to go through that horrible suffering and shame on the Cross to pay for your sins.
Strangely, many people think that Jesus is angry with them because of their sins. No! 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 sins. His concern for you sent Him to the Cross - because He loves you!
You must come directly to Jesus and be washed in His Blood. I am calling you to come to Jesus. Believe on Him. Trust Him. He will save you - He will save you now. Come to Jesus and say, "I'm a rotten sinner, and I can't save myself at all. I need Jesus, and I need Him now."
Jesus is the person you need to come to. He's at the right hand of God in Heaven. Stop trying to be saved by talking or learning. Jesus said, "Look unto me, and be ye saved" (Isaiah 45:22). Look right to Jesus and be forgiven by His Blood. All of your sins will be forgiven, once and for all, if you will come to Him once and for all.
You are the one who has made salvation hard and complicated. The real thing that will save you is simple - right there - Jesus naked on the Cross. Nothing else! Nothing else! Just Jesus! That's all! 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 believe in Jesus?" Yes! There He is! That's all! Believe in Him! It is finished! The Bible says, "He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the son of God hath not life" (I John 5:12).
 

Scripture Read Before Sermon: John 19:23-24.

Solo by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross"
                                                   by Isaac Watts (1674-1748).

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."

THE OUTLINE OF

THE NAKEDNESS OF JESUS

 

by Dr. Christopher 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).

       

    1. The nakedness of Jesus shows how worthless your goals in life are
      Job 1:21; I Timothy 6:7; Hebrews 2:3.
    2. 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.
    3. The nakedness of Jesus shows how bad your sins are
      Romans 4:7; Isaiah 45:22; John 19:30; I John 5:12.