And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!
The moments marked by Christmas and the start of a new year are filled with an abundance of HOPE. We are excited to give and receive gifts, spend quality time with loved ones, and start a new chapter in our lives… a chapter filled with HOPE. And… while it’s sweet to think about Jesus as an innocent baby lying in a manger, it’s bittersweet to fast-forward 33 years later to the suffering He experienced throughout the events associated with His crucifixion. While I have agonized over what He went through, knowing He suffered for me, I gave little thought to the crown of thorns He bore… a crown that symbolizes immeasurable HOPE.
Thanks to the late Adrian Rogers, I have a new perspective of the crown of thorns Jesus wore on His beautiful head... a crown that "carries a message that is indescribably glorious", according to Dr. Rogers. After the Romans scourged His body… to the brink of death, they placed a scarlet robe on His body and a reed in His hand, symbolizing a scepter. Then, they pressed a crown of thorns onto His brow and used clubs to beat the thorns into His head. This crown did not contain jewels, only the ruby red blood that dripped from the holes bore into His innocent head.
The crown of thorns symbolizes the curse that is on all of humanity due to sin. Thanks to Dr. Rogers, I now know that there were no thorns in the Garden of Eden until Adam and Eve sinned. Once they sinned, God cursed the ground. The crown of thorns symbolizes sin… sin that Jesus bore for all of us. Also, unbeknownst to me, the temple area is one of the most sensitive parts of our body (Thanks again, Dr. Rogers!). Those thorns pierced His head as Jesus excruciatingly bore our pain and sorrow.
The Roman soldiers proceeded to mock Jesus as He wore that crown. They spit in His face while they hailed Him “King of the Jews”. Jesus bore the shame of our sin while He was sinless. There’s a lesson God infused into the crucifixion… a righteous lesson. Yes, God always has a lesson. Our sin, our curse, our shame was placed on Jesus’ head so that we can become righteous in God’s eyes. You see, as soon as you believe in Jesus as your Savior, and repent of your sins, you become like Jesus in God’s eyes… radiantly beautiful and eternally righteous, with an abundant HOPE. Jesus not only bore our sin, pain, sorrow, and shame… He also bore our punishment.
The crown of thorns wasn't accidental or happenstance... it was the divine plan of God. Make no mistake, God is always in control and His plans are wonderfully majestical, glorious, and far superior to anything we could ever imagine ourselves. As believers, we are Children of The King. Because Jesus bore that thorny crown, we can bear a crown of righteousness… and HOPE. Because Jesus wore our crown of sin, we can now spend eternity with Him.
As we adopt this (new) identity as a Child of The King, let's enter the new chapter that comes with a new year filled with HOPE. As we stand on the threshold of a new year, our first resolution should be to keep our focus on God. While we don’t know what this new chapter will hold, we do know as God’s Children, our paths will be straight as He clears our way to victory. After all, Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us: Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
It doesn’t matter what the past year brought or the mistakes we made, what matters is God has got us in the palm of His hands through His beautiful Son, Jesus. As the ball drops and the clock strikes midnight, make Jesus your perfect HOPE, living your life for Him. God’s clock is not centered on what year it is on the world calendar. He is sovereign in every moment, day, week, month, and year. No problem is too big for our amazing God. He will guide you to triumph in every trial. He will lead you to success in every setback. He will give you HOPE in moments that appear HOPEless. Wear your crown of HOPE with confidence, knowing God is with you always through the righteousness of Jesus and the indwelling power of His Holy Spirit. As His Child, you possess an eternally crowned HOPE.
And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written,
King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.