Who is this that comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel…
Let us look at what He says to His anxious questioner; what account of Himself He gives; what He has done to Edom; and especially what mean these blood-stains on His robes.
1. We ask Him, "Who is this?" and He replies, "I that come in righteousness, mighty to save." That reassures us, and is good at the very outset. The Saviour comes in the strength of righteousness. Righteousness is at the bottom of all things. Any reform or salvation of which the power is righteousness must go down to the very root of the trouble; must extenuate and cover over nothing; must expose and convict completely, in order that it may completely heal. And this is the power of the salvation of Christ. Edom must be destroyed, not parleyed with; sin must be beaten down, not conciliated; good must thrive by the defeat, and not merely by the tolerance of evil.
2. The questioner wonders, as the Saviour comes nearer, at the strange signs of battle and agony upon His robes. "Wherefore art Thou red in Thine apparel, and Thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine-fat?" And the answer is, "I have trodden the winepress:" "I will tread them in Mine anger," etc. It is no holiday monarch coming with a bloodless triumph. It has been no pageant of a day, this strife with sin. The robes have trailed in the blood. The sword is dented with conflict. The power of God has struggled with the enemy and subdued him only in the agony of strife. What pain may mean to the Infinite and Divine, what difficulty may mean to Omnipotence, I cannot tell. Only I know that all that they could mean they meant here. This symbol of the blood bears this great truth, which has been the power of salvation to millions of hearts, and which must make this Conqueror the Saviour of your heart too, the truth that only in self-sacrifice and suffering could even God conquer sin. Sin is never so dreadful as when we see the Saviour with that blood upon His garments. And the Saviour Himself, surely He is never so dear, never wins so utter and so tender a love, as when we see what it has cost Him to save us. Out of that love born of His suffering comes the new impulse after a holy life; and so when we stand at last purified by the power of grateful obedience, it shall be said of us, binding our holiness and escape from our sin close to our Lord's struggle with sin for us, that we have "washed our robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
3. But He says something more. Not merely He has conquered completely and conquered in suffering: He has conquered alone. He brings out victory in His open hand. From His hand we take it by the power of prayer, and to Him alone we render thanks here and for ever.
4. Yet once more. What was the fruit of this victory over Edom which the Seer of Israel discovered from his mountain-top? It set Israel free from continual harassing and fear, and gave her a chance to develop along the way that God had marked out for her. Freedom! That is the word. It built no cities; it sowed no fields; it only broke off the burden of that hostile presence and bade the chosen nation go free into its destiny. And so what is the fruit of the salvation that the Divine Saviour brings to the souls of men? It does not finish them at once; it does not fill and stock their lives with heavenly richness in a moment. But it does just this. It sets them free; it gives them a new chance.
5. And notice that this Conqueror who comes, comes strong "travelling in the greatness of His strength." He has not left His might behind Him in the struggle. He is all ready, with the same strength with which He conquered, to enter in and rule and educate the nation He has saved. And so the Saviour has not done all when He has forgiven you. By the same strength of love and patience which saved you upon Calvary, He will come in, if you will let Him, and train your saved life into perfectness of grace and glory.
(Bp. Phillips Brooks.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.
WEB: Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this who is glorious in his clothing, marching in the greatness of his strength? "It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save."