Was Jesus Clothed or Naked at the Crucifixion?

by Steve Ray on April 7, 2020

A few years ago I wrote an article entitled “Was Jesus Crucified Naked?” It generated a lot of comments, some very critical. A very kind person wrote to me today about that article saying they was uncomfortable with the idea that Mary was looking up at unclothed men on crosses.

It was my understanding that since the days of Noah the Jews considered it an offense to look upon the nakedness of another, on or off a cross. I admit freely that this is topic I have not spent much time researching. It does make me uncomfortable to think of the the Blessed Virgin and the women surrounded by naked men. Yes, I am a prude.
Perhaps ironically, I keep this quote on my desk – “He wanted every square inch of His body to witness to His love and Sufferings.”
Thank you for your time in this busiest week of the Liturgical Year. Blessings.

Thanks again Sandra for visiting my site and sharing your thoughts. You are very kind and have a very good heart. I am sure Our Lord looks down on you with great love and compassion.

One thing I have learned from my 180+ times in Israel and my studies is that we think of the Holy Family living like us. The lived in a very rustic, cruel and difficult time in history. For example, when I give me talk “ A Day in the Life of the Holy Family” at the cave where they lived in Nazareth I always ask, “What did the Mary do first thing every morning?”

Everyone instantly says, “Pray!” I ask, “Is that the first thing you do every morning?” They all have a sheepish look on their face and say, “No, we go to the bathroom.” Ah, say I, “That is what Mary did first thing too!” Then I ask the second question, “Where did she go to the bathroom?” They all have a blank look on their face. I say, “If you live in a small village about 2 acres in size with a population of about 250 and you all live in caves with no plumbing or electricity or modern conveniences, where did Mary, Joseph, Jesus and the other 247 people go to the bathroom?

Nazareth(Picture: The picture to the right is of two girls from the village of Nazareth over 100 years ago, getting water at the well a 15-minute’s walk away, just like Mary had to do several times a day.)

We always think that the Holy Family floated 3 feet off the ground but they really lived a very crude and rustic life. It was cruel and the Romans hated the Jews and their way of life. They did everything they could to control and enforce their cruel rule. The Romans treated Roman citizens well (example St. Paul, Acts 22:28 beheaded instead of crucified). But the Jews were not citizens. They were rowdy and always resisting and fighting the Romans.

This is why Paul was beheaded (capital punishment for a Roman citizen) and Peter was crucified (capital punishment for a non-citizen). Anyway, it is good sometimes to forget we are Americans living in a modern world with compassion, etc. and imagine what REAL life was like. In Judea, in the 1st century, it was quite different. The brutal Romans has no compassion for the Jews and couldn’t care less what Mary and the other non-citizen, despised Jews thought.

We sometimes read OUR experience and way of life into the stories of 2,000 years ago. But they lived very, very differently than we do today. Understanding the REAL Mary and Joseph helps us love them even more!

Just a thought. Sorry I went on so long, but it is something that helps us understand the Bible and the Faith a lot better if we understand the actual historical-cultural situation at the time.

God bless and thanks again! Happy Easter!

If you send me your mailing address I will send you my talk on “Mary, Real Girl & Woman of Mystery.” It is a gift for Easter 🙂


  • Rachel Charette says:

    Steve, let me say that you, Scott Hahn and Dr. Brant Pitre have been a direct answer to prayer. I had just asked the Lord to reveal to me the correctness of Marian devotion and the very next day l found you three on YouTube. You have kindled in me an even deeper devotion to God in my Catholic walk. I was born into a Catholic family of nonpractioners, took a detour into evangelical teaching then came back to the faith because l wanted the Eucharist.
    Keep up the good work and l will introduce you to many other Chatholics who are lukewarm at best.
    BTW. What are sources l can check out regarding purgatory.

    STEVE RAY HERE: Thanks so much Rachel. Nice to hear that good news! It is wonderful to hear about your newly discovered enthusiasm for the truth. Praise God.

    I have an article on Purgatory here: https://catholicconvert.com/documents/Purgatory.pdf

    LOTS of other articles here too http://www.CatholicConvert.com/resources

  • Marina F. Martins says:

    I think we want to sanitize the harsh reality that Jesus lived. You make a very valid point when you bring up the issue of bathrooms. As for Jesus being crucified naked, I think most of us are too horrified at the prospect of the Saviour of the world being treated this way. We can’t bring ourselves to admit the fact that He was killed like a criminal, even though He was innocent. If He received no special treatment at His birth, why would He want special treatment at His death?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *