Let us remember Jesus,
who, though rich,
became poor and dwelt among us;
who loved all people and prayed for them,
even if they denied and rejected him;
who hated sin
because he knew the cost of pride and selfishness,
of cruelty and hatred, both to people and to God;
and who humbled himself, obedient unto the cross.
– adapted from The Worship Sourcebook
One of the sad results of humanity’s fall into sin is how the ground began to “produce thorns and thistles.” Thorns became the sign of God’s curse, that is, of all the sad and painful consequences associated with sin.
How appropriate it is, then, that King Jesus, who is willing to reign through suffering, wears on his head a crown of thorns. Those thorns signify how Jesus came to bear the curse that keeps us apart from God. One writer over 125 years ago put it like this: “As Christ lifted the curse on His own head, He took it off the world. He bore our sins and carried our sorrows.” Only God could take an insult like a crown of thorns and turn it into something that reflected his grace. Jesus’ suffering and death now brings hope and life.
Is it possible, though, that in some ways you and I still pierce Jesus with a crown of thorns today, figuratively speaking? Does my disobedience and sin still create pain for Jesus? Think of the pain it causes him when – despite clearly instructing otherwise – I keep the Good News of salvation through his blood to myself, as though I’m a member of an exclusive club I prefer to keep private with fringe benefits. Think of the pain it causes him when – despite the reconciliation he makes possible – I refuse to be reconciled with others, when I’m insensitive to another person’s feelings, when I’m unkind in my words and gossip, actions and gestures. Do these things sting Jesus a little like those thorns from that cruel crown he once wore?
Jesus, the King of kings, deserves a truly royal crown. While it’s impossible to literally give him one with shining jewels, there are other ways you and I can show his kingship. Do I not crown King Jesus when my life reflects his sacrificial nature in how I treat my family, friends, and neighbors, when I “look not only to [my] own interests, but also to the interests of others?” Do I not crown King Jesus when I make time to worship him – certainly on Sundays with other forgiven sinners, but also in my work and leisure, with my time and finances, so that in everything I do, I “do it all for the glory of God?” Maybe something in this list resonates with you. Or maybe the Holy Spirit is prompting you to add to it as we together crown Jesus in love and loyalty.
This appeared in this week’s Rock Valley Bee
in anticipation of Holy Week next week.