Puttin’ on the Kitz
Clothes are mentioned quite a bit in these closing scenes from Jesus’ life. Caiaphas will notably tear his priestly robes in faux shock at Christ’s claims about himself. Jesus will be adorned with an elaborate, kingly robe by the soldiers as they mock him as “King of the Jews.” The soldiers at the foot of the cross will throw some dice to decide who gets to keep the clothes Jesus leaves behind as he hangs, virtually naked, on the cross. The burial shroud will come into play as the ladies discover an empty tomb. Each of these articles of clothing subtly supply the narrative with a sense of juxtaposition that is meant to provoke both our imaginations and our conscience.
Let’s begin with Caiaphas. Here’s our boy…
This grand windbag and accidental prophet is clothed in the robe of the priesthood. He had married himself into this powerful position as the son-in-law of Annas. The robe of the priesthood was elaborate. It included: the ephod, a sort of shoulder pad with 6 stones on each shoulder representing the 12 tribes of Israel; the sash, which was tied about the priest’s waist and made of blue, purple, and scarlet linen and interwoven with gold thread; the breastplate, which was a pouch about 9 inches square made of beautifully woven material with twelve precious stones in four rows of three representing the tribes of Israel; the robe of the ephod, which was worn beneath the ephod and dyed a deep blue. Golden bells were attached to the hem along with pomegranates made from material hung between the bells; and, the mitre and crown, which was a turban of fine linen wrapped in coils on the head of the priest. On the front of the mitre, on Aaron’s forehead, there was attached a golden plate with the words HOLINESS TO THE LORD. Toss all that on the chosen lad and you have yourself a high priest puttin’ on the kitz.* (*Urban Dictionary: kitz: stylish and unique).
Again with the contrast…There stands Jesus, the King of Kings, in a simple covering – the ancient equivalent of Wranglers and a t-shirt – before the fabulously ornamented High Priest of Israel.
The clothes make the man, so they say. And clothes were on Peter’s mind many years later when he wrote these words: All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” ~I Peter 5:5