Why a Crown of Thorns
The Word of God gives us great details on the “Battlefield Wounds of Christ” which were inflicted upon Jesus Christ as He gave His life for our redemption. Taking time to remember those wounds and understanding what He purchased for us could fan into flames the love we should be expressing all year long to our Lord.
The scene of the battlefield of which Christ was on was humanity at his worst and Jesus was inflicted with many wounds, One of those infliction’s was a “crown of thorns.” Thorns came in with sin and became part of the curse that was the product of sin. (Genesis 3:18) Therefore, Christ being made a curse for us, and dying to remove that curse from us, felt the pain and hurt of those thorns.
Jesus’ bearing the crown of thorns answers the type of Abraham’s ram, which took the place of Isaac. The “thicket” (bak) that the ram had his horns caught in were a dense growth of heavy shrubs or underbrush that are intertwined in a manner that would catch persons or creatures and were very difficult to go through.
The Bible is very clear, God told Adam, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you…” (Genesis 3:18) Thistles (darda) were a very prickly plant having no value for producing life giving fruit. Even though they are a luxuriantly growing plant, they are still a worthless plant. Thorns (qowts) are a non-fruit bearing bush noted for their sharp, wood-splinter-like spines or tines.
It has been said that “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay.” Sin holds you in bondage and keeps you from having a fruitful relationship with Christ. Sin grows vigorously yet will leave you in a worthless state of mind and heart. The results of sin never escape the mind of the one who committed it nor of those who have had placed within their minds the horrors of it actions.
However, the Easter story is God laying the results of sin upon Christ, yet He got victory over sin and death, thus giving eternal life to all who come to Him in repentance. He got victory over the results of your sins.
The Lord had mocking laid upon him. Matthew 27:29 says, “They put a staff in His hand and knelt in front of Him and mocked Him…” A definition for mock is an object of ridicule. Christ withstood a false homage from the sinful wicked so that we may not have to remain guilty of sin that always brings mockery in the end.
In the workplace, it is not uncommon to see co-workers encourage sinful behavior that leads to all kinds of outward manifestation such as lying, adultery, and the misuse of God’s name. Worldly attitudes cause all to eventually misuse gifts, talents, and skills that God has given to mankind. When the manifestations of the sinful nature reach the point of public embracement, mockery comes from the co-workers, who by their actions and words encourage the sinful behavior. The very ones who encouraged flirting among the man and female sexes, mock those who eventually become involved in adultery. Those who encouraged back biting, telling dirty or off colored jokes, and wrong attitudes, publicly bad mouth those that they have encouraged to live a sinful lifestyle. Sin always brings approach, heartache, and emotional drain.
Yet, our Lord took those words and actions of mockery for the sake of God’s justice and our redemption. The Holy Spirit spoke through David, a man after God’s heart, reflecting the heart of Christ regarding His Father’s will, “For I endure scorn for your sake…”
The Romans had learned that this type of mockery is a powerful way to break a person mentally and especially emotionally. Mockery does not affect the body but it puts tremendous strain on the mind and tears at the heart of a person. Women and children have been scared for an entire life time from emotional and mental abuse. In war or sports, if you can intimidate or break the heart of your opponent the battle is half over.
Sin brings destruction to every part of our lives and this includes our emotions. Thus, our Lord suffered in mocking and reproach, being placed on the Cross of Calvary naked.
The great news is that Christ rose from the dead thus showing His power over sin and death. In Him you are victorious over the mockery that comes with sin.
The Lord was “Flogged.” Matthew 27:26 says, “…he [Pilate] had Jesus flogged.”
Among the Romans it was customary to scourge or whip a slave before he was crucified. This was done to inflict greater suffering and cause a quicker death while adding horrors to the punishment.
Our Lord was put to death after the manner of a slave or a criminal, therefore He was treated as a slave and a criminal. This is because sin puts mankind into bondage and causes him to become a criminal. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” (John 8:34) He took upon Himself the sins of the world. Sin is in the heart of every criminal.
The prophet Isaiah catches the reality of what Jesus was to look like when He would be scourged for our sins and he writes, “Just as there were many who were appalled at Him – His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human likeness.” (Isaiah 52:14)
When we hear of the results of sin on the news today or when sin has brought a tragedy into the lives of family members, people are struck with numbness and they are put to silence from sudden astonishment. We were shocked with the news of a pastor’s wife shooting her husband and of a child killer serving regularly in his local church. While attending horse shoeing college, I listen to a retired homicide detective share how it never gets easy walking in on a homicide scene. Every time it makes you want to cover your eyes, turn and look the other way, for you just can’t stand to look on the sight of such a horrific scene. The sight of a loved one suffering the long term effects of addiction, a life without Christ and heading for hell is a horrific sight.
Jesus’ appearance had to be horrible for He was taking on the grief and physical abuse of every sin committed before that first Easter, sins committed since Calvary and sins that will be committed until we get the New Heaven and Earth.
The Bible says, “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
Our sin has crushed the hearts of many, thus Christ was flogged and through the Holy Spirit was brought to life. You can have this Holy Spirit of Christ living in you!
The Lord was “Crucified.” Matthew 27:31, says, “…they led Him away to crucify Him.” We cannot possibly have too vivid of a picture of what Jesus took for us on the Cross of Calvary. Klausner, the Jewish writer, says, “Crucifixion is the most terrible and cruel death which man has ever devised for taking vengeance on his fellow man.” He continues with, “The criminal was fastened to his cross, already a bleeding mass from the scourging. There the criminal hung to die from hunger, thirst and exposure, unable to defend himself from the torture of the gnats and flies that settle on his naked body and on his bleeding wounds.” Our modern day pictures painted of Jesus hanging upon the Cross do not give the full picture of what Christ suffered.
The results of sin have affected many and left them unable to defend themselves from the destruction of sin. Many young people are victimized by exposure to pornography, humanistic views and a world despising of the things of God. A great famine of hearing the Word of God is causing many around the world to literally die of spiritual hunger and thirst.
For this reason, Jesus carried the battlefield wound of crucifixion. The wounds that He was afflicted with in the conquest for the souls of man were a curse for Him but a blessing for us. These blessings do not come as a reward for good works but for God’s name sake. God had given the prophet Isaiah great understanding of the work of the Lord, he writes, “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” (Isaiah 43:25) God had revealed to King David some powerful truths of God’s loving hand, he writes, “[God] does not treat us our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities… as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
The great news about Easter is that it records the end of the life of Christ upon this present earth before He was taken up to be once again with His father. Yet, before He leaves this earth, He opens the way for man to enter into the Holy of Holies for communion with God. The Bible says at the moment Jesus gave up His spirit willingly, the curtain of the temple was torn into from top to bottom. What Christ suffered opened the way for repentant mankind to have his relationship restored with God and Christ.
Remembering Your Works
Psalm 143:5 says, “I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.” Sometimes we need to talk about and meditate on the battlefield wounds our Lord received as He paid the price for the redemption of our very souls.
Many grow up in homes where they have not experienced the frustrations and heartaches of war. Most of their lives they have not taken time to meditate upon the cost of war.
If you watch closely at the “Veteran’s Day Parade,” you will notice how the young find their joy in grasping for the candy. The youth are captivated by their friends who ride on the floats. But, it is those who have tasted the bitter fruit of war in some way, they are the ones who appreciate the men and women of whom the Veteran’s Day remembrance parade is for.
If you take time to get to know a war veteran who has received a purple heart and hearing the story of how he received that honorable medal, you can also grasp the truths of Veteran’s Day. Taking time to listen to and meditating upon the cost of our American soldiers, you can completely change your outlook towards the “Veterans Day Parade.”
The Holy Spirit of God calls all Christians to be witnesses to family members, friends and co-workers. Christians are to live in a way that shows the Lordship of Christ over their lives, so they can be seen as children of God who understand fully “The Battlefield Wounds of Christ.” This keeps them from being seen as children at a “Veteran’s Day Parade” who are more captivated by the candy and worldly floats than the veterans who bear the scars of war on their bodies and hearts.
During the Easter season, those who want to get all that the Lord has for them will make time to learn all they can about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Just how will you remember the works of Christ this Easter Season?
His Cost Our Gain
When I first got started in the Arabian Horse business, my parents and I attended a special coronation celebration for a beautiful Arabian Stallion. On a Saturday night, in Lincoln, Nebraska we sat in a large indoor arena, excitingly watching this beautiful horse receive the very high honor of “Legion of Merit.” The lights were turned off and a large spotlight appeared at the entrance gate. Music was playing and our hearts beat with anticipation. Then suddenly a beautiful bay stallion with long black flowing mane and tail entered at a gallop. The spot light followed him as he loped through the arena while the announcer told of all the achievements that this horse had accomplished.
When the announcer was finished, the horse trainer entered and called the horse to come to him. With lights upon them, a coronation of roses was fastened around his neck and laid across his chest. With a standing ovation this beautiful Arabian Stallion was led from the arena.
In contrast was the atonement day of Christ–the day the perfect man received for a coronation a crown of thorns. He went about accomplishing the complete will of God, healing the sick, feeding the multitudes and raising the dead. If anyone was worthy of honor it was Him. Yet, He was not greeted with lights and music, but darkness came over the land. (Luke 23:44) He did not receive a coronation of roses, a public announcement of achievements and a standing ovation. Rather, He was given a crown of thorns and afflictions from men.
The Prophet Isaiah catches the reality of what Jesus was to look like when He would be scourged for our sins, “Just as there were many who were appalled at Him – His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human likeness.” (Isaiah 52:14)
Make plans to remember the cost paid for our sins and let the Holy Spirit of Christ lead you in a lifestyle that brings honor to God and to the sacrificial death of His Son, Jesus Christ. Respond to Christ appropriately!