Bound by cloth, he appeared so helpless.
Bound by cloth, he also appeared to have no choice in the matter.
The first time, it was the swaddling cloths, those strips of cloth that are wrapped around a baby to bind them for their comfort and security.
The last time, it was the burial cloths, those strips of cloth that are wrapped around a body to bind in the burial spices to slow down the decomposition and mask the odors during the mourning period.
The first time, the Savior entered the world as a baby.
The last time, the Savior left the world as a corpse.
The first time, the cloth was removed as the baby grew.
The last time, the cloth was left behind when the Savior rose from the dead.
The prophet Isaiah wrote about the things that bind:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound (Isa 61:1)
We are often broken and need to be bound.
We are often bound and need to be set free.
But Jesus was not broken with a need, like us, to be bound.
And Jesus was not bound with a need, like us, to be set free.
Jesus did, however, submit himself to being bound by flesh in order to dwell among us.
There were cloths that bound him yet could not contain him. But through him our brokenness can be bound up. And through him, when we are bound and shouldn’t be, we can be set free.
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manager, because there was not place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7)
So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. (John 19:40)