The Symbol of
Artist: Frank Mason
A robe symbolizes honor in Scripture, or the honor of a particular thing. When someone is given a robe, they are being honored. However, when the Roman soldiers put a purple robe on Jesus, they were mocking him and making fun of him for saying he was a king; so they mockingly bowed to him in a sarcastic display of honor.
A judge is given a black robe to symbolize the gravity of his position, not just for the one he's judging, but for himself, in case he judges wrong and causes harm to the innocent before God.
The prodigal son was given "the best robe" by his father, who was so pleased the son was "alive again" that he wanted to promote him on that day, making him the man of honor.
Jacob gave his favorite son, Joseph, a special robe of many colors, and Joseph's brothers became so jealous about the special honor that they sold him into slavery.
Christians will be given white robes in honor of their saving faith in Jesus Christ and his death on the cross. What he did for them, and their faith in it, is what washes their soiled robes and makes them gleaming white.
Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of his day for desiring to wear long robes in public just to gain attention, and they decorated their robes more than they had to, just to exaggerate their own honor. Their robes symbolized honor, but Jesus called those men "white washed tombs" that looked attractive and honorable on the outside, but were full of rot and evil on the inside. Their robes hid their hypocrisy, and they turned what is honorable into dishonor before God, who sees the heart.