Was Jesus Christ naked on the cross?
THE EDITOR, Sir:
OUR LORD Jesus Christ was, in all likelihood, naked on the cross. Christian art and the Church will not face it readily, so you won't see crucifixion pictures of Jesus with exposed penis, though in all likelihood, following Roman custom, he would have been crucified naked.
There is even biblical support for this seemingly way-out thought. Let's probe this radical idea a bit by checking John 19:23 in a few versions in light of the original Greek text.
23 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. (King James Version)
23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. (New King James Version)
23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. (New International Version)
23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. (New American Standard Bible)
The NIV is off track terribly with it's "with the undergarment remaining", because the Greek suggests that this item of clothing was also taken by the soldiers. The NIV's 'undergarment' was not meant to imply brief or boxer, for obvious reasons.
The mystery is solved somewhat by the New American Standard Bible (NASB).
In the Greek text, the first clothing word in verse 23 is himatia (outer garments), the second clothing word is chitona (inner garment, worn next to the skin) the full phrase is, contrary to the NIV, and/also his chitona (Greek: kai ton chitona), so the soldiers took our Lord's outer garments and as well his inner garment, thus leaving him naked on the cross.
Rev Clinton Chisholm