Betting On Death


When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. They also took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. So they said, “Rather than tearing it apart, let’s throw dice for it.” This fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my garments among themselves and threw dice for my clothing.” So that is what they did. (John 19:23-24)

Read: Hosea 1:1-3:5, 1 John 5:1-21, Psalm 124:1-8, Proverbs 29:5-8

Relate: How do you relate to this? I am a fan of comic book movies and the gambling aspect caused my mind to drift to the Daredevil legend. Daredevil’s dad was a boxer who died because he wouldn’t throw a match. As tragic as that piece of fiction was, it is only someone who died because of other’s gambling not people gambling while they watch him die. Something a little closer comes out of some fantasy literature I have read. In the Malazan series, there is a city called Letharas where convicted criminals are killed by drowning them in the river. The Lethari being who they are, they have turned it into a gambling spectacle. The convict is weighed down and then commanded to walk to the far side of the river. If they can do it, they are free… thing is nobody (except one guy of course) has ever made it. On the river banks, people watch the rope tied to the convicted and take bets on how far forward that rope will move before stopping, signifying the man’s death.

In real life, I am sure there was plenty of gambling in Roman times in the gladiator competitions. We who are about to die, salute you. I’ll place three sesteri on the big guy from the Ludus Magnus. On a more recent note, I understand bookmakers were taking bets on what the OJ Simpson verdict would be. As tasteless as all these things are, none of them can even begin to compare to the indignity of the soldiers gambling as Jesus died. None of these others are hanging naked on a tree watching through their pain and torture as the gambling took place. The soldiers weren’t even gambling over Jesus. They were gambling for His clothes. Oscar Wilde once said, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” While Jesus suffered in all his torment and indignity. As the crowds jeered and his disciples hid. While He took on Himself the sin of the world, the soldiers simply shrugged their shoulders and said, “Eh. So what? Whose got the dice?”

React: The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is apathy. Sometimes I think that the rabid Sam Harris type atheists are closer to heaven than those who call themselves Christian but only show up for church once a year on Christmas (if it isn’t snowing). Those who have made it their life purpose to oppose Christianity are closer to the truth than those who couldn’t care less one way or the other. The behavior of the soldiers in their jaded apathy was far more immoral than the shouts of the religious leaders who thought they were doing humanity a favor by removing Jesus from the equation.

What about me? Can I even be bothered? Am I so caught up in the entertainment distractions of my day that I ignore Christ? More than ever in history were are an incredibly bored yet over entertained culture. Be it phone apps, online gaming, sports, TV and movies, or even gambling itself, we have more opportunities than ever for pointless distractions. Have we become so addicted to our entertainment that we no longer even notice Christ and the work of the cross? Have I?


Dear God, 
Please don’t let me fall into apathy? With so many pulls and distractions everywhere I turn, don’t let me lose my passion for You. Don’t let the “dice” of my entertainment society pull my eyes off of You. You have done oh so much for me. The least I can do in return is care. 

6 thoughts on “Betting On Death

  1. I wholeheartedly agree. The biggest challenge of our time is to persuade the apathetic that any of this matters. That it really is a matter of life and death. Thank God it’s not up to us to persuade, just share and model authentic lives as God’s children. That is persuasive in its own way and God will always honour that.

  2. Inspiring work. I read this three days ago and had no words for you, but today I heard the Lord in a prayer for the beloved dead. Ever here of Requiem Aeternam? Here is my search and post with beautiful video. I included all the words of the prayer, but for the life of me, I can’t see how all those words are compressed in Latin and sung in seven minutes. . . Thanks.

  3. Very interesting and challenging…can betting be similar to voting? I cannot for the life of me accept that more than half our country is pro-progressive as democrats. Has Americanism changed? (the worldview of liberal ‘progressives’ is ‘activist atheist’ who reject God and devalue those who do). Their tongues are coated with death! Who can we trust? I vote for life (outsider lingo for change). Thanks and blessings.

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