Crown of Thorns

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, October 30, 2012 3 comments

It was said to have been the darkest day in history. War, catastrophe, tragedy; none of it compared to the unspeakable evil of this day. Evil. Evil! What better word to describe these people? It was as if they had been possessed by the spirits of hyenas, flocking around their helpless prey, mocking him as though he were nothing more than sport to them.

These men were soldiers, scourging one who had done no evil. A man innocent of all of the charges for which he was accused. They beat him and laughed at him. “So you think you’re a king, huh?” They stripped him of his clothes and beat him some more, laughing as he writhed in pain. “If you are a king, then you ought to dress like one too!” They clothed him in a purple robe. Purple, the color of a king; the color of robe that Caesar wore. “There, now you look like a king! But wait…one thing’s missing.” They unveiled a horrid contraption. A crown. But not any old crown, a crown of thorns.

Such a contraption could not have been forged in the depths of hell. Its menacing barbs threatened any who would dare even touch it, let alone wear it. The wood was splintered and dirty, as though it were nothing more than scrap. As the Son of man looked upon this device, he reminisced upon its origin.

He remembered where thorns came from and why they existed. It was not his doing that menacing accessories like thorns would come about, but mankind’s wickedness. Mankind in its infancy defied him a long, long time ago, in a garden that no longer existed. It was paradise, but it was lost.

God spoke to the man and his wife, “Your work has brought suffering and death upon this world! Therefore, your suffering will be multiplied as you must harvest your food among thorns. Thorns will characterize your world, even the simplest pleasures of your lives will be ruined by these thorns that invade your world. You might think that you have somewhere to rest your head or a safe haven to lay your body, but you will encounter peril around every corner from this day forward. And at the end of your life, the ground, which you cultivate, the ground, that gives you food, the ground which brings you life will be your place of rest. You are nothing but dirt without me. But, I will be your King and I will bring you salvation.”

He was their King and he would fulfill his word. They placed the crown upon his head. The pain was almost numbing. It was enough to make one hope for an early death. But not him. He was their King, and this was the most that his subjects had acknowledged him since he created them. They had to use sticks to fit the crown onto his head. Just touching it was pricking their fingers, drawing streams of scarlet to drip from their hands. As the thorns penetrated his skin and pierced his brows, he saw through this mockery.

Demons in the background whispered in their ears and provoked them to go just a little further. “Beat him,” they whispered. “Spit upon him…mock him.” The demons took great joy in this scene. They laughed and jested as their King, barely conscious, fought to sit upright. Blood pouring down his forehead; body ravaged and broken. “You cast us out by the thousands, and now you barely cling to your life. Where is your Father? Where is he? Will he protect you? He has no power over us! You belong to us now!”

They forced him to his feet and into the court. They brought him before his nation, clothed in humiliating royalty. He was dressed as the king they deserved: broken, bloody, and humiliated. The greatest of them should be lucky to achieve such a status. And yet he stood before them and took their insults and endured their threats. Though he had no dignity before them, he was fully dignified. Though they stripped him of his royalty, he was the only one clothed in majesty.

The demons poked and prodded from behind the scenes. “Come on Son of God, exercise your power! You did it once, let’s see you do it again. Extinguish their fire with a flood, perhaps. Or how about you call down your legion of angels; yes, call down Michael, your servant to slay these evil doers. Or even better, consume them with this holy fire that burns inside of your heart. Look at this worthless, pathetic, rabble. You are a King, are you not? Judge them. Show them your wrath. Send them to Hell!”

As he was to his accusers, so he was to his provocateurs: silent, patient, and unmovable. In his conscious daze, he made out two words, “Crucify Him!” his sentence was pronounced. They mounted him with a cross and sent him on a journey to Golgotha, the place of the skull. Some say that this was where Adam Fell and where Jacob saw the ladder to heaven. To the Holy One of God, it was a bridge between heaven and hell.

All along the way, dragons spewed their flames and jackals nipped at his heals. The entire world had turned against him. He was wretched, but still clothed as their King, wearing his crown of thorns. The unseen world paraded along with him on his death march; gleefully believing that this was it. God had lost and the world was theirs. Death was the master. Death was the victor. Satan triumphed and he would rule God’s world.

They climbed the hill and flames shot from its plateau. The people on the hill were immune to it at this point because they were used to living in the searing heat produced by the flames of hell. They could endure the flames so long as they were in the presence of God, and this man, that was more like a lamb being led to its slaughter, was the residence of God on earth. His crown was worthy of his people. Thorns, pain, and death.

He was mounted on the cross as the wretched harlequins waltzed around him; flinging salt and vinegar at him to enflame his wounds. He was sin, not they. Even God had turned his back on this man, how could they possibly suffer any consequences for their devious acts toward him? Finally, his body beaten and his spirit exhausted, he let out one more mighty cry, “IT IS FINISHED!” And for the first time, everyone was still, everyone was silent. The demons stopped dancing, the people stopped shouting. The dragons stopped roaring and the jackals stopped barking. He had one last thing to say and it was what they had all been waiting for: “Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit.” And with those final words, he died. There was a moment of silence, of disbelief and then they started rejoicing.

But their rejoicing lasted no more than a second. Blackness covered the earth and an earthquake shook the world. The ground began to split and divided the holy temple in two, rending its curtain that divided man from God. The demons were no longer laughing; they were lamenting. “God is angry and he seeks to destroy us!” one of the evil spirits cried. “He has broken his word, it is not yet our time!” complained another. Chaos broke out as the people and spirits dispersed.

When the darkness cleared, a handful of people remained. They kneeled at the cross, sobbing, weeping at what they had just experienced. But the evil was gone. The darkness was gone. And the veil was gone. Their King, upon the cross, still wore the crown of thorns. He was high and lifted up, just as the prophets had said. Gazing upon his dead, naked body, they gathered the courage to bring him down. They knew not what the future had in store for them, but what they had just experienced would be seared into their minds for all eternity.

Before, he was their son, their brother, their teacher; what they just witnessed elevated him above that. He was certainly dead, but the power of his death silenced all of his mockers and sent them running in panic. Some in the streets were even declaring that the saints of old had been awakened from the dead. What just happened? They did not recognize this man, despite dressing him in the image of their king. He was the King that molded them into his image. As these disciples and Roman guards gazed upon this corpse as it descended, they could not help but to notice the crown of thorns on his brow and ask, “Was this truly our King?”


Matt Mercer said...

Wow! I have chills.

Jason DeZurik said...

I felt the same way when I first read this Matt! Please share this with everyone you know. Bill is an excellent writer and we are blessed to have him on our team here at Worldview Warriors!

Unknown said...

I am in tears. Thanks for this Bill!