Jesus is stripped of his clothes
Do manners make a man, as they tell boys as Winchester, or do clothes make him? I present myself to the world in a certain way. How I dress is part of that. I don’t just fling on clothes, I try to dress in a way which presents an image of myself.
But what is the reality?
Before his crucifixion, before the final ordeal, Jesus was stripped of all his clothes. He was nailed to the cross naked. Stark bollock naked, that is, not in the loincloth of modesty with which he is depicted on the crucifix in church.
He stood before his father, who is our father too, completely naked. And not just before God his father, but before a mocking world. Not only all false modesty, but all modesty of any sort, was gone; stripped from him by a brutal authority.
Exposure is not agreeable. I want to present a certain image of myself, not just to the world, but to God too. Even if I know it is pointless, still I try.
The stripping Jesus underwent was physical. I need a deeper stripping. Of all my layers of pretence – to God, to the world, to myself. Of performance. For identity, we are told, is performative and situational. And so by removing the performance I can find my true identity. Only if I stand naked in front of God, and the mirror, can I see who I really am. For my true identity is my identity before God. And I have to be honest with him, and with myself.
No one ever said this was going to be pleasant.