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. 24 They said therefore among themselves, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,” that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says: “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.” Therefore the soldiers did these things.
This section (vv. 23ff) contrasts the responses of the soldiers and those committed to Jesus.
Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts,
John’s account of the soldiers dividing up Jesus’ garments is longer and more specific than in the synoptics. Clothes in the time of Christ were made by hand and thus were expensive.
to each soldier a part,
Each soldier was to have a piece of the garment.
and also the tunic.
The “tunic” was a seamless undergarment.
Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece.
It would have been difficult to tear Jesus’ inner garment because it was one woven piece. It would have left a tattered cloth had they gone ahead with this action.
They said therefore among themselves, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,”
Instead of destroying Jesus’ garment by dividing it into four parts, they cast dice so that one person could have it.
that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says:
The actions of the executioners of Jesus fulfilled Psalm 22:18 (exactly as written in the Septuagint). God’s sovereignty is evident in each aspect of the crucifixion. These soldiers blindly fulfilled prophecy. God used them without their knowledge.
“They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.”
This was a very specific fulfillment of Scripture. The soldiers both divided the garments and threw dice for Jesus’ clothing.
Therefore the soldiers did these things.
Gentile military would have no reason to fake this ratification of the Bible. These soldiers did these things under the providence of God.
Jesus’ crucifixion and death were the will of God.
Psalm 22:18 is one of 332 prophecies from the Old Testament that were fulfilled in Christ. This shows that the crucifixion and death of Jesus was the will of God. It was no accident or mistake. Neither did it fall in the will of the Romans or Jews; it rested on God’s design for salvation.
Soldiers shooting dice at the foot of the crucified Christ shows the callousness and indifference of their unbelief. His suffering was of no interest to them. Unbelief stands in stark disregard of God’s plan for man.