“They . . . wove a crown of thorns and set it on Him” — Mark 15:17
“Ouch!” The “ouch” and frostbite of winter will soon be over! But cheer up! Soon we can experience the inevitable “ouch” of being pricked by various types of thorny weeds which, every year at this time, start to infest our lawns and gardens.
While the prospect of having a sandbur lodged between your shoe and foot may not dampen your joy over spring’s arrival, none of us looks forward to having our flesh torn by sharp, prickly plants. But there’s no getting around it. Thorns are a fact of life. And we know why that is. It’s because of sin. Thorns are a part of sin’s curse. God said to Adam: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you!”
Even more than being a part of sin’s curse, however, thorns remind us of how all of earthly life has been cursed as a result of sin. Life often seems like one big “OUCH!” Like getting caught in a bramble bush, it tears us, cuts us, leaves us crying out in pain. Our life in this world is filled with so much frustration and disappointment.
Worse yet, there are our sins stabbing at our conscience, making us bleed from within, making it clear what we deserve for breaking God’s Law. Then there is death — the ever present thorn in man’s side — ready to bring us down at any moment. Job well describes man’s situation: “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower and fades away….” (Job 14:1-2a).
But just when all seemed hopeless, Jesus came. Jesus came “that (we) may have life, and have it more abundantly” (Jn. 10:10). Jesus, the good gardener, came to remove the thorny curse of sin. But how would He do that? How could He root out sin so deeply imbedded in man’s soul? Only one way: He Himself would have to become sin’s curse in our place.
How apropos that Jesus, as He trudged to the cross, wore upon His head the very symbol of sin’s curse. Upon His head was pressed a crown of thorns. But Jesus did more than symbolize that curse. He (as the Lenten season underscores) actually became sin’s curse on behalf of all people. “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree'” (Gal. 3:13).
Jesus wore our sin until it crushed Him. On the cross He endured the full fury of holy God’s wrath! The horror of hell is the ultimate curse our sins deserve! We can almost imagine a thorn being driven into Jesus’ soul as He cries out in the face of that horror: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Mk. 15:34)
And what is the result of Jesus’ becoming sin’s curse in man’s place? Redemption for all people is the result! Freedom from sin, death, and hell has been won for all sinners!
And what does it mean for you personally, dear Christian?
* It means that when some sin–any sin–tears into your conscience,
you can apply the healing salve which flows from the cross, namely,
Jesus’ cancellation of the world’s entire sin debt.
* It means living every day as “more than a conqueror.” While life on
earth may hurt, you walk with a Savior whose sacrificial death proves
His undying commitment to your eternal welfare.
* It means one day you will take up permanent residence in a world
where there will be no more pain or death; in a world where the word
“ouch” will never be heard again!
This hard winter world cannot last long. A spring without thorns must soon be ours!
Endless praise to Jesus, who wore the curse of sin for us so that we might one day wear a crown of everlasting glory!
–Pastor Michael Wilke