The Crown of Thorns
19 Pilate then took Jesus and [a]scourged Him. 2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him; 3 and they began to come up to Him and say, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and to give Him slaps in the face
“What cruel irony! Jesus finally received the words he deserved: “Hail, King of the Jews!” For once he wore a crown upon his head. Yet it was not the golden crown of sovereignty or the olive crown of victory, but the thorny crown of suffering. Those thorns that were thrust upon the head of our Savior were long and terribly sharp. No doubt they dug deeply into the head of our suffering king. We can’t really imagine the physical pain, not to mention the emotional and spiritual anguish endured by the King of kings.”
Unbelievable pain awaited Jesus beyond this opening scene of mockery. But as we stop and reflect here we witness the King of Kings revealing what His kingdom is all about. A suffering servant would shed His blood for the forgiveness of the world. A greater narrative was being played above the mocking jeers, a story of hope and healing weaved through His pain, calling His people, showing His people “the way”. Paul puts it this way in Philippians 2:5-11:
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Did you see it there? Through Jesus’ sacrifice, through His willing surrender, His kenosis, (emptying) of himself He was therefore exalted to the highest place. His path to be hailed as King of Kings led him through the ultimate act of surrender. As He emptied himself for you and for me He opens our eyes to what He expects of people who follow His path and claim Him as Lord.
Join me now, as we witness anew our Savior being crowned and beaten, scourged and mocked. May we see in His suffering an example of what it means to carry our own cross and follow Him.
Grace & Peace