Thorns and Crowns

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By Shannon Pifer

The Easter season is upon us, and as we’ve done for the past few Easter and Christmas seasons, 4OaksKids has provided devotional kits to our preschool and elementary families. Our purpose in doing so is to partner with parents, the primary disciplers of their children, and provide them with tools to use in their homes to point their children to the Gospel. Our devotional kits for this Easter include a grapevine wreath and toothpicks, along with readings and songs for parents to lead their children in. The wreaths and toothpicks are representative of the crown and its thorns placed on the head of Jesus in mockery at His horrific crucifixion. The children will be adding “thorns” to their crown as they confess their sins and ask for forgiveness. This tangible exercise of piercing Jesus’ crown with our own sins is meant to show our children that our greatest problem is our own sin, but that Jesus bore them for us on the cross!

We often talk about the cross, even singing songs about it, but have you thought much about that crown of thorns? Maybe you’ve been working outdoors recently as we have, enjoying the spring sunshine by cleaning up the yard from our short winter and doing a bit of planting. If you’ve ever pulled weeds here in Tallahassee, I’m sure you’ve had the experience as I have of grabbing a handful of harmless-looking invaders, only to find out the hard way that something with thorns was in the mix. Even through gloves those things can hurt! Now imagine Jesus, Son of God, being beaten and mocked and spat upon, and crowned with a twisted wreath of thorny vines. The irony of Jesus, savior of the fallen world, being crowned with thorns, could not have been lost on Him as He hung dying on that cross. Thorns were, after all, a part of the curse that made it necessary for Him to be there in the first place.

In Genesis 3:17-18, God says to Adam as He details the ramifications of the fall, “…cursed is the ground because of you, in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you…” There was not a single thorn in all of Eden until Adam and Eve took that bite of forbidden fruit. Now thorns and thistles cover the earth, as any farmer or backyard gardener will tell you, even covering the head of the second Adam, who came to save us from the thorns of sin in our very hearts! Charles Spurgeon puts it this way:
“...I want you to remember how much drearier it was to Him than it ever can be to you, for when He was crowned on earth, the only crown He ever wore was a crown of thorns! This curse of the earth was on His head and wounded Him sorely. Was He crowned with thorns and do you wonder that they grow up around your feet? Rather bless Him that ever He should have consecrated the thorns by wearing them for His diadem!”

Even if you’re not going through our thorn and crown exercise with a child, consider the curse of the thorns found in Genesis, and the blessing of the thorns found at the Cross during this Easter season!