The Crown of Thorns

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, December 24, 2021 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Tomorrow is Christmas Day. So why am I writing about Jesus’ crucifixion instead of His birth? The answer is simple: Jesus came and was born for the purpose of dying for the sins of the world. Back in November, I spoke at El Paso’s first Creation Conference and gave the closing keynote. When I stepped off the stage, I was greeted by a number of friends who mostly had one thing they liked about my keynote: the crown of thorns. And what does that have to do with Creation? Actually everything. If Paul’s statement about Jesus being the “last Adam” doesn’t connect the Fall of Man and the Genesis account to the cross, the crowns of thorns should remove any doubt to the honest listener.

Genesis is the historical text about the origins of the universe and the establishment of the nation through whom the Savior would come. The first eleven chapters cover 2000 years of world history, concluding with the dispersion of the nations and people groups before zooming in onto one man: Abraham. The rest of the OT centers around Abraham and his descendants, a nation that would bring Jesus Christ. It is in these first eleven chapters that we are introduced to the setting of world history, the description of how this world went wrong, and the first messages and pictures of the Gospel. This is our origins: where we came from. And if we are to have a Biblical worldview, we must have a correct view of origins.

When I teach about worldviews, I address five major questions. “Where did I come from?” “Why am I here?” “Who am I?” “Where am I going?” and “Who do I listen to?” There are others as well, some of which are answered within these questions. A big one that I’ll address is, “What is wrong with the world?” This is part of the question about origins. This world is broken. It’s messed up. How did this happen? There are two competing ideas: 1) It was always this way. 2) Man is the problem, according to Genesis 3. In case #1, this is what is behind every single model that teaches the earth is billions of years old. The earth has always been corrupted and broken; it was created this way. The models that try to include Adam say that Adam’s sin didn’t actually corrupt the Creation; it just corrupted life in the Garden. In case #2, man is the problem; this is what Scripture teaches. This is no secondary issue because case #1 blames God (or just nature) for what’s wrong with this world. The Gospel and Christianity blame man for what is wrong with the world and the curse upon all creation that followed.

When God issued out the curse upon Adam, there are several things to note. First, the ground won’t produce for man readily; man will have to work brutally for it. Next, the ground will produce thorns and thistles, and then man would eventually die and return to the dust from which he came. The earth as a whole was cursed. It would no longer operate as originally created. The implications of this are well beyond what I can say, especially in a scientific sense, but what is clear is that pre-sin, the universe operated on a different set of commands than post-sin. Mainstream scientists today struggle to grasp this notion because they believe in the uniformitarian principle that what they observe today (in a sin-cursed world) is what has always happened, so they dismiss it entirely. But I want to dwell on this point.

Jesus came and was born not just as a human, but He came from His residence in perfect paradise to a sin-cursed world. John Hyde described how this revelation hit him – even the very air that Jesus breathed was sin-cursed. So it’s no wonder why He constantly snuck out to pray. Then the fateful day arrived. Jesus, having already prayed for any other option, submitted to His Father and faced His betrayer. He faced an illegal, illegitimate trial and a Roman beating that alone could have killed Him, and part of all of that was the greatest form of mockery: the crown of thorns.

Jesus was the rightful king, and to mock it, the Romans put a crown of thorns on Jesus’ head. They put the very thing God specifically singled out to be the constant, visual, physical mark of the curse of sin – thorns and thistles – on the head of Christ. Russ Miller posted a comment on Facebook that related to the thorns being part of the curse on the world. It was a good point, but when I thought about it, it hit me. Jesus wore a crown of thorns. Jesus wore the literal symbol of sin on His head as He went to the cross. John teaches that Jesus bore the sins of the world, that He would be the propitiation for sin. That’s what Jesus came to do – to be the ultimate and final sacrifice that would not only appease the wrath of God upon sin, but also to enable the Father to be both just upon the wicked, and the justifier of those who have their faith in Christ. Jesus wore a crown of thorns. He took our sin literally, and He took it to death and satisfied God’s righteous justice. When I gave the closing keynote to the Creation conference I mentioned above, I brought this point up. Afterwards, this point was by far the point that resonated the most with those I spoke with.

Tomorrow, as you go about your Christmas celebrations, let us remember Christ over the festivities. Let us remember not just that He came, but why He had to come. He had to come because that was the only way God could save us and maintain His perfect moral righteous standards. The crown of thorns is just a small detail most of us skim over, but Jesus wore sin to that cross, and He suffered the wrath of God. In that death, mankind was given the open door to be saved. People may reject the teaching of the thorns and thistles in Genesis, and they unwittingly do that when they suggest that they preceded Adam by teaching an “ancient” earth. Their belief may not determine their salvation, but unless Genesis happened as recorded, no one can be saved. The crown of thorns is just one proof of this. Let us remember what Jesus came to do and let us be thankful that He did, because He did not have to. Merry Christmas and may we honor our blessed Savior.

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