Was the robe of Jesus Scarlet or Purple? 

Matt. 27:28, 31; Mark 15:16, 20; John 19:2,5

  1. Scarlet Robe
    1. Matt. 27:28, "They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him."
    2. Matt. 27:31, "After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him."
  2. Purple Robe
    1. Mark 15:17, "They dressed Him up in purple, and after twisting a crown of thorns, they put it on Him."
    2. Mark 15:20, "After they had mocked Him, they took the purple robe off Him and put His own garments on Him. And they led Him out to crucify Him."
    3. John 19:2, "And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him."
    4. John 19:5, "Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold, the Man!"

Was the robe of Jesus scarlet or purple?  To answer the question, we must first examine the colors to see what they are.  Below is a chart showing both scarlet and purple with different shades, in hex code, side by side.  The upper grid is the direct color presentation.  The bottom grid is the same presentation with a transparent shade over it.  The shade is to simulate dim lighting conditions, which might have been the case inside Pilate's palace where they placed the robe on Jesus.

grid purple and scarlet

As you can see, the colors are both different and similar depending on the shade and the lighting.  For example, dark scarlet is very similar to darker purple.  In the condition of poor lighting, the distinction is even less apparent since the colors would appear darker.

So, it could simply be that the robe was a dark color that could have been accurately described by either word. 

Also, another possibility is that the robe could have been made of two colors that were put together due to their similarity.  But this explanation doesn't seem to fit that well.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.