Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Looking towards Easter - a crown of thorns

Crown of thorns

I listened to a really good talk tonight at church.

If we are to engage fully with Easter we have to engage with both the celebration of Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday and the events of the cross on Good Friday.

Matthew 27:27-31 (NIV)Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. [28] They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, [29] and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said. [30] They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. [31] After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

The crown of thorns as a symbol ...

1. The crown of thorns as a symbol of mockery of Jesus. 

It is thought that the thorns would have been very long and spiky and would have caused the soldiers pain and scratches.

It wasn't enough to kill Jesus that the soldiers wanted to humiliate him.

For ourselves how often do we do the same thing? Do we say that Jesus is king in our lives but we then don't relinquish control over to Him?

Can we equate the mockery of the soldiers to our own?

2. The crown of thorns represent humility.

Jesus was born into poverty and died in a similar way. Jesus didn't wear a crown of gold, pain free but wore a crown of thorns, in pain - not befitting to who he is?

Our attitude should be the same as Jesus.

Philippians 2:6-11 (NIV)Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, [7] but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. [8] And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death---even death on a cross! [9] Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, [10] that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, [11] and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Are we willing to make ourselves this humble? Humility is not a sign of weakness, it takes strength to be humble.

3. A symbol of sin

The Old testament has many references for thorns.

Numbers 33:55 (NIV)" `But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live.

Joshua 23:13 (NIV)then you may be sure that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land, which the Lord your God has given you.

Thorns are not a good image, they are all pervasive, they distort the truth.

Genesis 3:17-19 (NIV)To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, `You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. [18] It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. [19] By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

Thorns are a consequence of Adam's sin.

Genesis 22:6 (NIV)Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together,

Genesis 22:11-13 (NIV)But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. [12] "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son. " [13] Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.

Stuck in the thorns is our sacrifice.

Genesis 22:13 (NIV)Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.

Do we know that the price has been paid? Looking at the image of thorns do we live with them as a punishment.

Jesus experienced human pain with the thorns - he bleed.  Do we fully know that Jesus feels and shares our pain? When we are going through tough things - JESUS FEELS OUR PAIN.

Because the kingdom is not here yet, there will be pain and tears and suffering. We can be confident that the Kingdom of God is near and that Jesus wants to share with us in our suffering.

Jesus knows what pain feels like, he understands - he cares for us. The Holy Spirit can comfort us and heal us.

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