As we approach the inauguration we thought we would complete this series on Trump and Economics in the Gospels first begun in 2017.
As we reach the end of this series on Trump and Economics in the Gospels we find a chapter that finds little to talk about in reference to Trump.
Sure, we could talk about Ivanka and her clothing line but few ties in to Donald himself, per se. Aside from his ties perhaps being a bit too long – and there are no mentions of ties in the Gospels – his clothing is pretty standard stuff: suits, suits, suits. And golf attire. So, since no one dresses like Jesus or John the Baptist nowadays we’ll just let this chapter come straight from the original Economics in the Gospels without comment.
See if you can make a tie-in.
The Gospels are full of clothes, cloth, curtains, and the like. There was obviously a thriving industry in making these things and one can assume a significant percentage of the GDP of the time went into the production of all these materials.
These items are also mentioned poignantly in key episodes, stories and parables. Similarly, we see things associated with these items also mentioned, like bleach, patches, launderers, etc. We also see the entire range of finery from the mention of John Baptist’s camel hair outfit to the most elegant and fancy of attire.
We also see how textiles were used to prepare the dead – and wrap new born babies.
Clothing (8) / Clothes (19)
One of the first mentions of clothes in the Gospels is the suggestion not to worry about them…
Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t there more to life than food and more to the body than clothing?
Matthew 6:28 Why do you worry about clothing? Think about how the flowers of the field grow; they do not work or spin.
6:29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these! 6:30 And if this is how God clothes the wild grass, which is here today and tomorrow is tossed into the fire to heat the oven, won’t he clothe you even more, you people of little faith? 6:31 So then, don’t worry saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’
In the end the guards throw dice for Jesus clothes…
Matthew 27:35 When they had crucified him, they divided his clothes by throwing dice.
The story of the demon possessed man points out that before the demons were chased into the pigs, he was naked, but after he wore clothes.
Luke 8:27 As Jesus stepped ashore, a certain man from the town met him who was possessed by demons. For a long time this man had worn no clothes and had not lived in a house, but among the tombs.
8:35 So the people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus. They found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.
In the Transfiguration, the whiteness of Jesus clothes is fundamental to the story and the event itself.
Luke 9:29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face was transformed, and his clothes became very bright, a brilliant white.
Clothes are mentioned in this rather curious, near final scene in John.
John 21:18 I tell you the solemn truth, when you were young, you tied your clothes around you and went wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will tie you up and bring you where you do not want to go.”
Fancy/Elegant/Wedding Clothes (7)
In the Parable of the Wedding Banquet we see that not wearing the right clothes could get you thrown into the outer darkness. So it’s not surprising that fancy and elegant clothes would get high mention in the Gospels.
Matthew 11:8 What did you go out to see? A man dressed in fancy clothes? Look, those who wear fancy clothes are in the homes of kings!
In this intriguing passage Herod dressed Jesus in elegant clothes before sending him to Pilate.
Luke 23:11 Even Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, dressing him in elegant clothes, Herod sent him back to Pilate.
Leather Belt (2)
It would appear that John the Baptist’s leather belt wasn’t too fashionable.
Matthew 3:4 Now John wore clothing made from camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his diet consisted of locusts and wild honey.
The other mention of a belt is what appears to be a money belt.
Mark 6:8 He instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no bag, no money in their belts – 6:9 and to put on sandals but not to wear two tunics.
Sandals are most famously featured in this famous quote from John the Baptist:
Matthew 3:11 “I baptize you with water, for repentance, but the one coming after me is more powerful than I am – I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
In this, a most exceedingly famous passage, clothes are front and center …
Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are voracious wolves.
The seemingly insignificant patch is made good use of in the Gospels.
Matthew 9:16 No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, because the patch will pull away from the garment and the tear will be worse.
Here we find clothing featured in a particularly fierce condemnation from Jesus…
Matthew 11:21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes
Cloaks are mentioned repeatedly in the Gospels. In particular, Jesus’ cloak has the ability heal.
Mark 5:27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 5:28 for she kept saying, “If only I touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 5:29 At once the bleeding stopped, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 5:30 Jesus knew at once that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?”
Mark 6:56 And wherever he would go – into villages, towns, or countryside – they would place the sick in the marketplaces, and would ask him if they could just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.
Cloaks also enjoy several other mentions including this one where cloaks are used for Jesus’ procession into Jerusalem.
Matthew 21:7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 21:8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road. Others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
In the following passage people are forewarned not to turn back.
Mark 13:16 The one in the field must not turn back to get his cloak
Again, we see Jesus being dressed in finery before he is crucified.
Mark 15:17 They put a purple cloak on him and after braiding a crown of thorns, they put it on him.
15:20 When they had finished mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
Linen is specifically mentioned throughout the Gospels. First, as the material Jesus is wrapped in.
Matthew 27:59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 27:60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut in the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance of the tomb and went away.
In the following passage we see another unexpected scene in which a young man streaks in, then leaves the Gospels very quickly, with nothing to identify him for posterity aside from his wearing a linen cloth – which he loses quickly. The scripture makes a point of stating that the linen is left behind.
Mark 14:51 A young man was following him, wearing only a linen cloth. They tried to arrest him, 14:52 but he ran off naked, leaving his linen cloth behind.
Linen is mentioned in the following entry introducing Lazarus to the Gospel.
Luke 16:19 “There was a rich man who dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.
Linen is also all that is left behind after the resurrection.
John 20:5 He bent down and saw the strips of linen cloth lying there, but he did not go in. 20:6 Then Simon Peter, who had been following him, arrived and went right into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen cloth lying there, 20:7 and the face cloth, which had been around Jesus’ head, not lying with the strips of linen cloth but rolled up in a place by itself.
Like the cloak, a robe is mentioned as something Jesus is dressed in and then stripped of.
Matthew 27:28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe around him,
Matthew 27:31 When they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
In the following passage a young man dressed in a white robe tells the good news.
Mark 16:5 Then as they went into the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.
The experts in the law are described as dressing in long robes.
Luke 20:46 “Beware of the experts in the law. They like walking around in long robes, and they love elaborate greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets.
Crown of Thorns (4)
The most iconic thing Jesus ever wore…
John 19:2 The soldiers braided a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they clothed him in a purple robe.
The tunic is one of the items of Jesus’ clothing split up by the soldiers. Notice the detail offered about the tunic in John.
John 19:23 Now when the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and made four shares, one for each soldier, and the tunic remained. (Now the tunic was seamless, woven from top to bottom as a single piece.)
Launderer and Bleach
Just one mention of bleach and a launderer.
Mark 9:3 and his clothes became radiantly white, more so than any launderer in the world could bleach them.
Temple Curtain (3)
The tearing of the temple curtain was the Gospel’s most pointed and poignant reference of God’s reaction toward the crucifixion.
Matthew 27:51 Just then the temple curtain was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks were split apart.
Strips of Cloth (3)
The first use of textiles in Jesus’ story is the wrapping of him as a baby.
Luke 2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in strips of cloth
In the continuation of this most famous of lessons, the coat is not to be missed.
Luke 6:29 To the person who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other as well, and from the person who takes away your coat, do not withhold your tunic either.
The women bringing aromatic spices to the tomb met two men in dazzling attire.
Luke 24:4 While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men stood beside them in dazzling attire.
In the following passage Jesus uses a towel…
John 13:4 he got up from the meal, removed his outer clothes, took a towel and tied it around himself.
There is no mention of “inner clothing” in the Gospels.
John 13:12 So when Jesus had washed their feet and put his outer clothing back on, he took his place at the table again and said to them, “Do you understand what I have done for you?
There is a mention of Peter tucking in his outer garment as he was apparently wearing nothing underneath.
John 21:7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” So Simon Peter, when he heard that it was the Lord, tucked in his outer garment (for he had nothing on underneath it), and plunged into the sea.
Most mentions of garments are reviewed previously in other passages, aside from this one passage where “garment” is used in the plural.
John 19:24 So the soldiers said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but throw dice to see who will get it.” This took place to fulfill the scripture that says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they threw dice.” So the soldiers did these things.
One mention of a face cloth is found in Jesus’ tomb.
John 20:7 and the face cloth, which had been around Jesus’ head, not lying with the strips of linen cloth but rolled up in a place by itself.
Angels in White
White appears to be the color for divine spirits.
John 20:12 And she saw two angels in white sitting where Jesus’ body had been lying, one at the head and one at the feet.
Luke 5:36 He also told them a parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old garment. If he does, he will have torn the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. 5:37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. 5:38 Instead new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 5:39 No one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’”