“And, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks were split” ~Matthew 27:51
Indentured servants came to America in the early 17th century[i]. Desperate, struggling European immigrants arrived promising colonial landowners years of work in exchange for a new life. The days were tough and many died, but for those who made it, a fresh start and renewed hope was on the other side. With the completion of their contracts these tired men and women were given what was known as “Freedom Dues.” Along with money and land their dues would include a new set of clothes, garments rich with symbolism that would reflect their well-earned change in status.
Joseph knew about freedom clothes.
When we first think of Joseph, it is most likely his colorful tunic that springs to mind. The one that signified his father’s love and made his brothers jealous. But this first gift was not his freedom cloth, in fact it was just the beginning of his journey. Joseph still had many years of service left in his contract with God.
Through his dedication to the Lord, Joseph served in the house of Potiphar and eventually found himself in prison. His gift of interpreting dreams had made itself known and when Pharaoh had his dream Joseph was the right man for the job.
All of a sudden, he was pulled from his jail cell and taken to the palace. After Joseph interpreted the dream and Pharaoh saw the Spirit of God was on him, “Then Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand; and he clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck” (Gen 41:42).
Right then everything changed for Joseph. With one-act he was given all authority, a new name, and a new bride. He became a different kind of servant. One who had been faithful, redeemed and was now completely free from his old life.
Serving God can be hard, but let us not forget about our own upcoming moment of redemption. The soon and very soon when we will be snatched from this life and given our own set of freedom clothes.
It is written, “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Rev 19:7-8).
[i] “Indentured Servants.” Dictionary of American History. Encyclolpedia.com. 30 Dec. 2017. http://www.encyclopedia.com
Image Credit: Frederic Leighton. “Study for ‘Return of Persephone’ Drapery for Demete.”