Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Robe

I bet Joseph never went anywhere without that stupid robe -- probably wore it in his sleep.

See, the robe wasn't just an article of clothing; it was a symbol of status. I know it's hard for us to understand their culture, but apparently they believed you could tell how important someone was by the kind of clothing they wore. Silly primitive people!

When Jacob gave Joseph that special robe, he wasn't just saying something to Joseph -- he was saying something to the other 11 sons. Joseph is the favorite; the rest of you are not.

Every time Joseph put the robe on, he felt special. Every time the other brothers saw him with the robe on, they felt overlooked. For Joseph it was a blessing. For the other brothers it was a curse.

A robe like this damages everyone -- the ones who did not receive it, the one who did and the one who gave it. When you introduce a special robe like this, no one gets out unscathed.

And yet...

There once was a man who knew how to live with the robe. He received it surely. A voice from heaven boomed out: "This is the One. I love this One. Listen to Him." He had special powers and abilities. He was destined for greatness and enjoyed the special favor of his Father from the time he was born.

And yet...

Once he was with a group of his friends, and, while they were arguing over who was most important, he took his robe off, wrapped a towel around himself, took a bowl of water and washed the feet of everyone in the room.

The next day a group of soldiers were making fun of him. They put a heavy robe and a pretend crown of thistles on him and said, "Look at the King!" Then they tore that robe off and tore that man's body to shreds.

And one day...

Because of what that one man did, all of God's children will receive a white robe that God himself has specially made for each one of us. That day, there will be no division, no bickering, no rivalry or envy. And that robe will bring healing and peace to everyone.