Problem

What color was the robe that was put on Jesus?

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,

In Matthew it says they put on him a "scarlet robe" but in John it says that they put on him a "purple robe". What color was the robe?


Solution

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The most likely solution to this apparent contradiction is that the robe was both purple and scarlet (e.g. it was striped or patterned in some way). It's also possible that more than one article of clothing was involved, and that one was purple while the other was scarlet.

Another solution is that these colors can be used interchangeably to denote royalty. The point the writers were getting across was that the robe they put on Jesus was at one time used for royals (king) or high-ranking military (generals). Jesus is both.

Revelations 19:
13And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

14And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

15And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

16And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

I hope this helps 8-)

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You can actually get a pretty middle-ground color that can press you hard whether to call it red or purple.

Would you describe torquoise as blue or green?

The first two points made by jdeans is certainly correct logic and deduction as any logician or lawyer will do. And the burden of proof is on the prosecutor to prove the contradiction in the Bible. Nevertheless, those are both possibilites, without any evidence for them. We on our part of the defense should want to give a more fuller and solid explanation as well.

The 3rd point is certainly the intention of the Romans who did this to Jesus in order to mock him, and it is a great insight to be taken. Yet from the perspective of pure apologetics, this is simply "spiritualizing away" and making things figurative, and we should certainly not settle for that, when it plainly says red and purple.

I do agree that this isn't really a contradiction, and I realize assuming that the robe was a middle-ground color is not solid proof either, but with the given information, I also agree with jdeans that the most probable explanation is that two different people are describing a mixed color a bit differently. A middle-ground color is another way for a cloak to be two colors at the same time.

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Books on Apparent Contradictions