When I consider the infamy of the events associated with the crucifixion of Christ, at first glance, I find the crown of thorns to be the most innocuous, something akin to a P.S. in a letter. But is it really the case?

Most scholars agree that the thorns were not meant primarily as an instrument of torture. While there was pain associated with it, death by crucifixion by itself won the crown in that department.

So, if not pain, what? The answer is mockery. The soldiers were simply making sport of Jesus. Isaiah said that the Messiah was going to be “despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Even in the smallest of details, Jesus fit the part.

In fact, there is quite a bit of taunting around His passion. From the people who dared Him to come down from the cross to the leading priests who said that He had saved others but could not save Himself. From the governor who suggested He should show a little more deference in front of the one who could free Him to the thief who sarcastically questioned Jesus’ claim to be the Messiah. Words like “mock,” “scoff,” “sneer,” etc. are littered throughout the resurrection narratives.

The crown of thorns, contrary to the cross, represents the subtlety of the human heart that is bent on mocking Christ but would not join the mob chanting “Crucify Him!” The cross is more blatant; the crown, more insidious.

Most of us are “bring out the crown” types before we become “bring out the cross” types. We harbor resistance in our hearts. We cover up the darkness that puts us at enmity with God by staying in the periphery. Sadly, many times, we have the type of skepticism that shakes our core and sometimes guides our conduct. We conjure up a mild form of resistance to Christ so we can cry out at the end: “I didn’t ask Him to be crucified!”

The soldiers mocked Jesus. Pilate mocked Jesus. Religious leaders mocked Jesus. Passersby mocked Jesus. And many people across this vast world still mock Jesus. And that’s why the crown was there, next to the cross, to remind us that not all rebels are made from the same cloth. Mockers are never created equal and Jesus’ crucifixion proves that.

As we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, it is time for us to examine our hearts for any signs of “silent” rebellion against God, confess our sins, and embrace the resurrected Messiah. It would be appropriate for us to remind ourselves that one day He is coming to claim His legitimate crown as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And this time, He is donning a judge’s toga.

Jesus is Risen!

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade
Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA

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