So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands. (John 19:1-3)
Mocked With A Crown Of Thorns
It is difficult to imagine the humiliation the soldiers of Pilate put upon Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Even more unimaginable is the fortitude it required for the Lord to allow the mockery and not bring down a legion of angels to dismiss the puny humans who treated Him so contemptable. After the brutal scourging by the soldiers, the whole garrison surrounded Jesus of Nazareth which numbered more than 400 men. The man who stood before them had declared himself a king and they were going to make sport of this foolish Galilean who sought to exalt himself above Caesar. Reeling from the intense pain of the scourging, Jesus’ garments were stripped off His bleeding body and a scarlet robe draped around His shoulders. Some men gathered a pile of brambles to form a crown of thorns which they placed on the head of Jesus. Laughing as they mocked a man who claimed to be king, the soldiers bowed the knee in jest, spitting on Him and striking Jesus repeatedly with a rod and their hands. All the while the Son of God stood silent. Getting no satisfaction from their victim and boring of their sport, they put his clothes back on Him and lead Jesus away to be crucified.
Satan was doing his best to humiliate the Son of God. He knew who Jesus was. What a joy it must have been to the devil allowing such treatment of the one he knew as God. No man had treated God as vile as this day. It is difficult to consider how the Father allowed His Son to be so treated but love ruled His heart. The crown of thorns was symbolic of the putridity of sin and how far man had fallen in his mire of wickedness, hatred and ridicule of righteousness. Jesus willing gave Himself to be treated as the scum of the earth by those whom He created. By His hand the breath of life coursed through the blood of these soldiers. The soldiers were making sport of Jesus. He felt pity for them. They did not know a day would come when they would be standing before Him. On that day there would be no laughter and no mocking. Instead of a crown of thorns there would be a crown with many diadems. He would not bow before them; they would bow before the Lord God and receive judgment for their actions.
Within hours Jesus would be crucified. The same soldiers who mocked Him would return to their barracks and live out their lives unattached to the one among many they crucified that year. Jesus of Nazareth was nothing more than a faceless victim who (in their minds) deserved to die. They had treated him as they treated all the poor souls who came before them. Others may have been given a crown of thorns like Jesus. Mockery was their pastime. And then they died. Everything changed from that moment on. Eternity does not dismiss the memories of earthly life. There is no doubt these men who placed a crown of thorns on the head of Jesus know full well what they had done and to whom they had made fun. Sadly there is nothing to do but to see the face of that man from Galilee and to remember the day they mocked Him with a crown of thorns. Caesar was not a king. Jesus of Nazareth was the true King. The crown of thorns became a symbol of the love of God to allow man to kill His Son. Through the power of the Father, Jesus was raised from the dead to wear a crown of victory.
Two crowns. One fashioned by man and one given by God. What man sought to do in making sport of Jesus becomes the image of love as Christ died for all men – including the men who hours earlier had treated Him so terribly. There is a tinge of hope that someone among the garrison would come to know the real Jesus. The Holy Spirit does not reveal what happened. What is preserved in holy scrip is the example of the Son of God dripping in blood, with his back severely beaten, as men placed a crown of thorns on His head and He did nothing. Thank you Jesus for taking that crown of thorns and to become the King of Kings and Lord of Lords for all men to see your crown of grace. His crown becomes our victory. It reminds us of the price for sin.