Was the Robe on Jesus Scarlet or Purple?

Supposed contradiction and verses:


Was the robe Jesus had scarlet or purple?

Matthew 27:28

And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.


John 19:2

And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe,



   While it seems there is a contradiction, first and foremost, reflect on the difference we ourselves have with people when defining a color. Certainly now, there are a wide array of color names, just try to go pick some paint out at a hardware store! Some people will say something is blue, some will say it is a shade of green. The list goes on. That being the case, given the difference in opinion of the robe actually proves two things. First, the two authors differed on the naming of the color for whatever reason. Second, it proves that the Gospels had more than one writer as many a skeptic has tried to claim.

   But letís take a look at the day and time of the crucifixion. First, the Roman officers would not have placed a brand new robe on Jesus to mock Him. In fact, it would most likely have been a throw-away robe that was once purple yet had faded. Purple fades into a fine shade of red. In fact, in the color spectrum, purple comes up under reds with red being a primary to make the purple. They used an insect egg and would pulverize it making a red or scarlet they used in dyeing processes. It is also a documented fact that there were different shades of purple and red in the first century and it was hard to distinguish them apart. There are many examples of where the term purple is used to describe red then as well. So, sometimes, people would refer to the same color with a different name. Just as we do today. There is no contradiction!

In His Grace,

            Mike Harris


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