WHY A CROWN OF THORNS?
By Lucien LeSage
Matthew 27:29 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!
Well, it is obvious that the soldiers did this to mock Jesus. He was said to be the “King of the Jews” and a king should have a crown and so they plaited him one made of thorns. They had put a scarlet robe on him and placed a reed in his hand for a king's scepter. Secondly, they meant it to inflict pain upon him. He had been scourged and now they would inflict pain to his head. So we see the intentions of men, but what about the intentions of His Father? We know that the Bible tells us that “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief:...” (Isaiah 53:10). I am reminded of what Joseph told his brothers. “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” (Gen 50:20). But why a crown of thorns? The soldiers perhaps could have made a crown of some other material to inflict pain, but they chose to plait one made of thorns. Why? Well, humanly speaking, perhaps because that was readily available. Spurgeon says that they could have plaited a “crown of straw, but they meant to pain him.” However, I believe that our Sovereign God was in complete control of every aspect of the crucifixion and that thorns were meant to be his crown. He was “delivered by the determinate council” of almighty God as Peter tells us in Acts 2:23. That very crown of thorns was purposed by God almighty and I believe for a reason.
The first place we read of thorns in the Bible is in connection with the curse from sin. In Genesis 3:18 we see that because of Adam's transgression that God cursed the ground and said, “thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee.” Then there is another interesting place in the Bible that we see a thorny bush mentioned and that is when God appeared to Moses in the burning bush. In that passage we read that it was the “angel” of the Lord that spoke with him (see Exodus 3:2). But I also read in that same passage that “God called unto him out of the midst of the bush” and that the angel of the Lord said, “ I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Who is this angel of the Lord. Why, He is the Son of God who is God. Now what is interesting is the the Hebrew word for “bush” means a “thorny bush.” Strong says “to prick.” So why would the Son of God appear in a thorny bush? Certainly a great glorious tree would perhaps seem more fit but a thorny bush was what He chose. Then there was this fire that burned in the midst of the bush yet it was not consumed. The Bible says that our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29) and yet this bush was not consumed. I am reminded how that the Bible tells us that Jesus took His people's sins upon himself and suffered the wrath for sin and yet was not consumed and was able to bear it. So thorns again are connected with the curse and sin and Jesus was made to be sin. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
So thorns are the curse for sin. But why place them upon His head? As I said the soldiers had their reason but God had His reason. In Leviticus chapter 16 we read of the annual day of atonement in which two goats were selected. One was for a sin offering and one was to be the scapegoat. This was determined by the casting of lots by Aaron. Then we read, “And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness” (Leviticus 16:20-22).
That crown of thorns is the perfect picture of the sins of God's elect being put upon the head of our substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Spurgeon said, "Christ had fought with sin from the day when he first stood foot to foot with it in the wilderness up to the time when he entered Pilate's hall, and he had conquered it. As a witness that he had gained the victory behold sin's crown seized as a trophy! What was the crown of sin? Thorns. These sprang from the curse. "Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee," was the coronation of sin, and now Christ has taken away its crown, and put it on his own head. He has spoiled sin of its richest regalia, and he wears it himself."
Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726