Was Jesus Clothed or Naked at the Crucifixion?

by Steve Ray on April 7, 2020

A few years ago I wrote an article entitled “Was Jesus Crucified Naked?” It generated a lot of comments, some very critical. A very kind person wrote to me today about that article saying they was uncomfortable with the idea that Mary was looking up at unclothed men on crosses.

THEY WROTE:
It was my understanding that since the days of Noah the Jews considered it an offense to look upon the nakedness of another, on or off a cross. I admit freely that this is topic I have not spent much time researching. It does make me uncomfortable to think of the the Blessed Virgin and the women surrounded by naked men. Yes, I am a prude.
Perhaps ironically, I keep this quote on my desk – “He wanted every square inch of His body to witness to His love and Sufferings.”
Thank you for your time in this busiest week of the Liturgical Year. Blessings.

MY RESPONSE:
Thanks again Sandra for visiting my site and sharing your thoughts. You are very kind and have a very good heart. I am sure Our Lord looks down on you with great love and compassion.

One thing I have learned from my 180+ times in Israel and my studies is that we think of the Holy Family living like us. The lived in a very rustic, cruel and difficult time in history. For example, when I give me talk “ A Day in the Life of the Holy Family” at the cave where they lived in Nazareth I always ask, “What did the Mary do first thing every morning?”

Everyone instantly says, “Pray!” I ask, “Is that the first thing you do every morning?” They all have a sheepish look on their face and say, “No, we go to the bathroom.” Ah, say I, “That is what Mary did first thing too!” Then I ask the second question, “Where did she go to the bathroom?” They all have a blank look on their face. I say, “If you live in a small village about 2 acres in size with a population of about 250 and you all live in caves with no plumbing or electricity or modern conveniences, where did Mary, Joseph, Jesus and the other 247 people go to the bathroom?

Nazareth(Picture: The picture to the right is of two girls from the village of Nazareth over 100 years ago, getting water at the well a 15-minute’s walk away, just like Mary had to do several times a day.)

We always think that the Holy Family floated 3 feet off the ground but they really lived a very crude and rustic life. It was cruel and the Romans hated the Jews and their way of life. They did everything they could to control and enforce their cruel rule. The Romans treated Roman citizens well (example St. Paul, Acts 22:28 beheaded instead of crucified). But the Jews were not citizens. They were rowdy and always resisting and fighting the Romans.

This is why Paul was beheaded (capital punishment for a Roman citizen) and Peter was crucified (capital punishment for a non-citizen). Anyway, it is good sometimes to forget we are Americans living in a modern world with compassion, etc. and imagine what REAL life was like. In Judea, in the 1st century, it was quite different. The brutal Romans has no compassion for the Jews and couldn’t care less what Mary and the other non-citizen, despised Jews thought.

We sometimes read OUR experience and way of life into the stories of 2,000 years ago. But they lived very, very differently than we do today. Understanding the REAL Mary and Joseph helps us love them even more!

Just a thought. Sorry I went on so long, but it is something that helps us understand the Bible and the Faith a lot better if we understand the actual historical-cultural situation at the time.

God bless and thanks again! Happy Easter!

If you send me your mailing address I will send you my talk on “Mary, Real Girl & Woman of Mystery.” It is a gift for Easter ?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Albert Gutierrez Sr. April 7, 2020 at 10:50 AM

All that was great Steve, but you didn't even answer the question if Jesus was crucified clothed or naked.

STEVE RAY HERE: Thanks for writing Albert. I provided a link to the original article at https://catholicconvert.com/blog/2017/04/12/was-jesus-naked-when-crucified/. I explain in that article that Jesus was crucified naked.

Theresa Jakubik April 7, 2020 at 12:11 PM

I would to hear your talk on Mary.
I have learned so much listening to your talks and reading your books.
My husband and I are signed up for theOctober Holy Land trip. Praying that it still goes.
My address is 10053 Devonshire, South Lyon Mi 48178

Jonathan Koechl April 13, 2020 at 2:49 PM

Hi Steve,
Thank you so much for your amazing witness and passionate zeal for our beautiful, Catholic Faith. I was recently reading some of Sr. Anne Catherine Emmerich's visions (what Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ was partly based upon) on the life of Christ. She states that Jesus was stripped, in order that he would be crucified naked, but there was a man named Jonodab who was Divinely inspired to provide a cloth to cover Him. She goes on to state that the Romans allowed this and, thus, Jesus was granted this reprieve by the Father through the prayers of Mary.

Now I realize that this is only private revelation and should be treated as such, but I found it to be an interesting idea. I might add that I agree with your assertion that, based on Roman practices, it is almost a certainty that Christ was crucified naked. Also, as we read in Genesis that Adam and Eve were "naked without shame" but then lost that innocence through sin, it therefore seems fitting that Christ would take on that shame and redeem it, especially in a marital context of the cross as his marriage bed with the Church.

God bless you sir, and keep up the good work!

Jonathan Koechl.
p.s. I occasionally hear about your trips to the Holy Land and I would love to come one day with my wife and maybe even some of my kids!

STEVE RAY HERE: Jonathan, thanks for your comments and for visiting my blog. We hope we can show you the Holy Land someday and it will have a profound impact on you and your children.

Your comments are very astute and I am aware of the mystics and also aware that some of them don’t agree on certain topics and use their emotional and modesty
sentiments to explain away what were actual things about the life of Christ. And like you said, they are private revelations and not incumbent upon anyone to read or believe. That said, they are interesting to read as long as one does not take them to be historical facts. For example the Blessed and Emmerich says that Mary was assumed into heaven from Ephesus which is contrary to all the earliest traditions and the evidence from Jerusalem.

Like you said, I do believe that he was crucified naked because that’s the way the Romans did it and because it was their means of utterly humiliating and degrading a criminal. The parallelism between Adam and Eve being naked and innocent in the garden and being kicked out clothed because of their sins which is reciprocated by the new Adam being clothed as he entered into the garden and then stripped naked to restore our innocence.

Thanks again for writing and sharing your thoughts and God bless you and all those you love.

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