Why Was His Crown Made Of Thorns?

This is one of the most familiar images of the crucifixion but have we ever considered the symbolism of those thorns? Think about it, a crown  which is a symbol of royalty, power, kingship and wealth, yet not made with gold or jewels, but thorns. Why?

The first thing that probably comes to mind is that it was a way of mocking His claim as a King but when viewed through the lens of the whole of Scripture, the crown of thorns has another deeper symbolic meaning, It was a crown of curse to be worn by the One who took our curse.

This immediately takes us back to Genesis, reminding us of why Jesus went to the cross, to take the penalty for sin on our behalf. The thorns of His crown were a sign of the curse, the sign of the fallen world since the disobedience of Adam and Eve in Genesis.

He became Our King of thorns. Thorns speak of pain and tears. So this crown means He bore the pain and tears of fallen man.They speak of piercing, so He was pierced. They are linked to the curse which is linked to death. He bore the weight of that curse upon His head as He gave up His life.

This crown was not just a twisted garland of prickly barbs, like that of a blackberry bush. Rather, it was a brutal instrument that caused much anguish. The crown is said to have been made from the branches of a Jujube tree, a deciduous tree found near Jerusalem, with thorns measuring an inch long or more.

He had the burden of the sins of the whole world on His mind as they jammed that makeshift crown of one inch twisting thorns on His head, each thorn pressing into His temple as the blood flowed from His brow.

Willie Nelson has written a song “You were always on my mind” but you were always on Jesus’ mind even from the book of Genesis. A gospel song penned the same sentiment “When He was on the cross you were on His mind”

He became the King of the pierced and wounded, the King of the rejected and King of tears. But The One who bore this crown has authority over these things…. to turn sorry into joy, death into life and thorns into blossoms.

Isa 53:4-6 Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows:yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Isn’t it significant that while bearing the sins of the whole world, Jesus wore on His head this crown of piercing thorns, a symbol of the curse brought about because of man’s sin in Genesis 3?

The soldiers did it to amuse themselves, but the Gospels include this as a significant part of Jesus’ trial. While intended to be a mockery, the crown of thorns was, in fact, an excellent symbol of who Jesus is and what He came to accomplish. I suspect that all the gospels include it because it has an ironic truth — Jesus is the King, and yet His rule would be preceded by rejection, ridicule and suffering. He has a crown of thorns because He is the ruler of a world filled with pain, and as the King of this corrupt world, He established His right to rule by experiencing pain himself. He was crowned with thorns that He might have authority over pain and death.

The crown of thorns has meaning for our lives, too — it is not just part of a movie scene in which we are overwhelmed with the suffering that Jesus went through to be our Savior. Jesus said that if we want to follow Him, we must take up our cross each day — and He could just as easily have said that we must bear our thorns. For example look at the life of Paul’s thorn in the flesh 2 Corinthians12:7 We are joined to Jesus in the crucible of suffering. Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. Those wanting to be a part of his Kingdom must be joined with the crucified Christ, even in His suffering.

We all experience our crowns of thorns. We all have our crosses to bear. We all live in this fallen world and take part in its pain and sorrow.

It is no surprise that humanity, still alienated from God, rejected Him and expressed it with thorns and death at the time of His crucification

Jesus embraced that rejection — accepted the crown of thorns — as part of His bitter cup of enduring what humans endure, so that He could open the door for us to escape with Him from this world of tears.

But the crown of thorns and the cross of death have met their match in Jesus. Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

The Roman soldiers unknowingly took an object of the curse and fashioned it into a crown for the One who would deliver us from that curse. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’”Galatians 3:13. Christ, in His perfect atoning sacrifice, has delivered us from the curse of sin, of which a thorn is a symbol.

And yet, though Jesus suffered for a time beneath that curse, His death and resurrection paved the way for those that believe on Him to be set free from the power of sin. At His ascension, Jesus took His rightful place, seated at the right hand of God. The Roman soldiers may have inaugurated him in mockery, but Jesus truly is the King of Kings.

He will one day return as King of Kings and Lord of lords. But he will not be wearing a crown of thorns. Rather, Jesus will be crowned with glory and honor, gathering to Himself those who suffered with Him, and offering each a crown of life.

CHALLENGE: So did you ever wonder why Jesus wore a crown made of thorns?

See also “The Beauty of the thorns”http://margaretmearnsbass.com/2013/04/23/beauty-of-the-thorns/

Comments

  1. Well done Maggie. I always knew that Our Lords crown of thorns had much deeper meaning. You brought to light through your words how I always felt. Our Lords crown of thorns was a symbol of our transgressions. The depth of those piercings represented the depth of our sins. Through it all, Our Lord wore that crown like a true King. The King above all Kings.

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