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Crown of Thorns,
Crown of Glory

March, 2001

By Dr. Mary Craig

The hour had come. Devils cackled with glee. The prince of darkness would unleash the hosts of hell, for they knew Him, this Jesus. They knew Him to be the Son of God. Had He come to torment them before the time?

But it was their time now. Judas, the son of perdition, conspired with the religious leaders to betray Jesus. There, in the Garden, with a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, they came, with lanterns and torches and weapons. A kiss gave Him away.

Peter drew his sword and smote the high priestís servant, cutting off his right ear, but Jesus healed the servant, saying, "Put up your sword into the sheath: the cup which My Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?"

They took Jesus bound to stand before the High Priest, who asked Him of His doctrine. Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment. It was early. They didnít go in, because they didnít want to be defiled, for it was the time of passover.

Pilate came out unto them. "What accusation do you bring against this Man?" Obviously, He was a malefactor, for why else would they have brought Him to Pilate? Pilate told the religious leaders to judge Jesus according to their law, but the Jews knew it was not lawful for them to put any man to death. So Pilate returned into the judgment hall and asked Jesus, "Are You the King of the Jews?"

Jesus searched Pilateís heart, asking, "Do you say this of yourself, or did others tell you this of Me?" Jesus explained that His kingdom is not of this world. "To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears My voice."

Pilate queried, "What is truth?" Finding no fault in Jesus, he sent Him out to the people, for there was a custom that at the passover a prisoner should be released. But the people cried for Barabbas, a robber.

Pilate took Jesus, and scourged Him. Soldiers twisted a crown of thorns, and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe, and hailed Him King of the Jews. They smote Him with their hands.

Pilate again brought Jesus before the people. Jesus wore the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said, "Behold the Man!" The chief priests and officers cried out, "Crucify Him, crucify Him." The Jews said He ought to die because He made Himself the Son of God. Pilate grew afraid, returned to Jesus and wanted to know where Jesus was from. Jesus kept silent. Pilate said he had power of life and death over Jesus, but Jesus then answered, "You could have no power at all against Me, except it were given you from above; therefore the one that delivered Me unto you has the greater sin."

The crowd grew stronger in their cries for crucifixion. Pilate said, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar." (John 18-19)

A crown of thorns, a purple robe, a reed placed in His right hand, Matthew 27.29 tells us. They mocked Him. They bowed the knee before Him. This was the worship they would give Him, for they esteemed Him not. They called the Worthy, worthless. They deemed the only Righteous One evil, lawless. They would strip Him of His Rod of Iron, His Robe, His Crown, for their desire was to trample the holy, make it common, defile Him.

A crown of thorns. Thorns were part of the curse of God upon the ground (Genesis 3.18). Israel was warned by Yahweh that if they would not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before them, those which they let remain would be pricks in their eyes and thorns in their sides, vexing them in the land. (Numbers 33.55) Joshua charged the people to remain loyal to their Covenant Lord, warning that if they went back to cleave to the remnant of the nations they had defeated, to marry and mingle, that God would no longer drive out the evil, but they would be snares and traps, scourges in their sides, thorns in their eyes, until they perished from off the good land which God had given them. (Joshua 23.11-13)

Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse (Proverbs 22.5). The children of Belial were as thorns (2 Samuel 23.6). King David, at the end of his life, told how he could not defeat them because of iniquity in his family line. David was accused of being a son of Belial himself. Belial opposes the kingly anointing with false accusations of evil, worthlessness, lawlessness, unrighteousness, descriptions of Belial himself.

Thorns were good only for the fire. (2 Samuel 23.6; Nahum 1.10). How descriptive this is of the sons of Belial, the sons of rebellion. Yet Jesus is the Light of Israel who is for a fire, the Holy One who is for a flame, to burn and devour both thorns and briers in one day. (Isaiah 10.17)

God exalts the humble and debases the proud. The Lord spoke through Jeremiah to the people of Judah and Jerusalem saying, "Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns." (Jeremiah 4.3) Jesus knew that the Word falling among thorns would be choked and become unfruitful. (Matthew 13.22) That which bears thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burned. (Hebrews 6.8)

A crown of thorns. Psalm 41 tells us the heart of the enemies to the king. "When shall he die, and his name perish?" They whisper and devise hurt. They come with worthless words seeking to cling to the soul such that one would lie down and never rise. This Psalm speaks of Jesusí betrayal by Judas.

Jesus was rejected of men, despised. They wanted to kill Him, to kill the Creator and take His place. They wanted to take from Him His crown and robe of royalty and rod of iron. They wanted to tear Jesus from His throne, to crown Him with thorns. He was their king only in mockery. They wanted Caesar. They rejected the Holy One of Israel. Their worship was a taunt, the cackling of fools.

When they reviled Jesus, He did not revile in return. When He suffered, He did not threaten. He kept entrusting Himself to His Father, to One that judges righteously. He was living out the prophetic word, the promises of God. He knew who He was, why He had come, what would happen. He was bruised for our iniquities. He bore the stripes for our healing. He endured the cross and its shame to pay the penalty for our sin. He became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ.

Our salvation did not come cheap as though worthless. It is the spirit of Belial that would have us depart from the worship of the One true God and lead us into lawlessness, worthlessness, unrighteousness, and unbelief. Belial wants us to mix, and not consecrate ourselves totally to Christ. Belial defiles flesh and spirit, but we must cleanse ourselves of such defilement. Belial wants to strip us of our garments, like the garment of praise, the garment of righteousness, but we must clothe ourselves with Christ. Belial wants to take our crowns, but we must not let anyone take our crown.

What does Christ have to do with Belial? Belial is a thorn for the fire. Jesus wore a crown of thorns that we might receive the crown of life. (2 Corinthians 6; Revelation 3) Jesus wore a crown of thorns, taking our shame and guilt and rebellion as the Lamb of God slain. His Blood purges the conscience from dead works to serve the living God. His Blood shed is the means by which sins are remitted.

Worthy is that Lamb. As Jesus made Himself of no reputation and took upon Him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. God has highly exalted Him, and given Him a Name that is above every name. For Jesus did not stay in the grave. Jesus rose again from the dead, out from among the dead. He was raised unto life and ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Almighty. At the name of Jesus every knee bows, in heaven, in earth, and under the earth. Every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2.7-11)

Devils, death, hell, and the grave could not keep Jesus Christ from rising from the dead. Jesus is alive forevermore. He has the keys of hell and of death. (Revelation 1.18) He is worshiped in heaven and crowns are cast before His throne. He is counted worthy, not worthless, to receive glory and honor and power, for He is both Creator and Redeemer. He is crowned with glory and honor and has dominion.

You, today, may be facing the issue of values. Perhaps you have treated the One who is most worthy as worthless, a no-account king. You may be in rebellion yourself, wishing Jesus would die and not rise, go away and leave you alone. You may be confused, wondering how anyone could glory in suffering, count trials a joy, embrace the cross with Christ.

The prudent are crowned with knowledge (Proverbs 14.8). God would have you take joy in the strength of the Lord, to rejoice in your salvation. He would meet you with the blessings of goodness and set a crown of pure gold upon your head. (Psalm 21.3) When Jesus came the first time, most did not recognize the Anointed One in their midst, most despised His appearing, but to those that love His appearing, there is laid up for them a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge shall give at that day. (2 Timothy 4.8) Hold fast that no one take your crown. In times of testing and tribulation, be faithful. Seek God for grace.

I invite you to pray that God open the eyes of your understanding to comprehend, to open the eyes of your heart to apprehend the love of Christ. What compelled Him? What lay beyond the cross, beyond the grave? What power enabled Him to endure suffering and shame? Ask Him.

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels
For the suffering of death,
Crowned with glory and honor; that He
By the grace of God should taste death for every man.
For it became Him, for whom are all things, and
By whom are all things,
In bringing many sons unto glory,
To make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
(Hebrews 2.9, 10)

© 2001 Mary Craig Ministries, Inc.


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