Q – Hello! I am teaching a class to children and will be doing a project regarding the last week of Christ. Why is purple associated with Jesus and the Passion Week? We are making little cloth drapes of purple to glue to an empty cross, but suddenly I humbly realize I do not know the significance of the color. Can you help?
Jim – Purple was the color of royalty in Middle Eastern culture. Other colors were available to common folk, but only those with money and stature wore purple.
For instance, Judges 8:26 tells us that the kings of Midian wore purple. And, when Modecai was to be publicly heralded by the king of Persia, in the book of Esther, they dressed him in “royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple.” (Esther 8:15)
So, when Jesus was taken into the Praetorium, the great hall used by the governors and Caesars, the Roman soldiers clothed Him in purple, made a crown of thorns for His head and saluted Him as the King of Jews (Mark 15:17-18). They were mocking him, of course. They spat on Him, beat Him in the head with sticks, and bowed in front of Him in mock reverence. But, after they had mocked Him, “they took off the purple from him and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.” (Mark 15:20)
So, the significance of placing purple drapes over the cross around Passover and Resurrection Sunday is to remind us that the One who gave His life died as a criminal in the eyes of Rome and as a blasphemer in the eyes of the Jews, but He was a King in the eyes of God. And, He reigns to this day! Now, THAT’S good news!
Thanks for the question. Enjoy your time with the kids and use this visual aid to teach them of the King of Glory who gave Himself as a ransom. And, tell them I said “hi.”
Q – Thank you so much for your beautifully put reply. It is so simple and yet so profound. I hope I can convey to the kids, as clearly as you did, the majesty of Jesus.
May God bless your ministry.