Why do pastors wear robes?
Pastors wear robes because the priests in the Temple wore robes. In order to enter into the Holy of Holies in the Temple, the high priest had to wear a pure white robe, reminding Israel of the purity of Israel through God’s grace given to them in the Messiah.
What do the pastor’s garments signify?
The black underneath reminds us that we are all sinners. The white on top is to remind us that we are dressed in the righteousness of Jesus. The white on his collar is to remind us that God brings the light of the world (the Gospel) from the voice of the pastor. Even though the pastor is a sinner, he has the privilege of speaking God’s Word to God’s people.
What does the Bible say about this?
Exodus 28 - This describes the priests robes.
2 Corinthians 5:21 - Jesus becomes sin for us that we might be the righteousness of God in Him.
Hebrews 4:14 - 9:28 - Jesus is discussed as being our High Priest
1 Peter 2:1-10 - Jesus makes us priests, able to stand in the presence of God because of what God has done for us in Christ.
Revelation 7:9-17 - The saints are dressed in white by virtue of the fact that they have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. They stand in the presence of God as a result.
Make repentance an everyday part of your prayers. This is a reminder of the darkness of sin. Also include praise of Jesus that affirms that He has taken our sins and dressed us in His righteousness. That is a reminder of the grace with which we are covered and which cannot be overcome. You may want to use the following hymns from Lutheran Service Book 449, 575, 563, 565
Find something black. Get a white cloth and cover the black object. Teach that the black is our sins and Jesus covers us in His robe so that when God looks at us, He thinks He sees Jesus and gives us Jesus’ reward.
Lord, we thank You for sending Jesus to take away our sins. Forgive us the bad things we have done today and help us remember that we are dressed in Jesus righteousness. Thank you for making us wonderful in Your sight because of what Jesus did. Amen.