PRAISE PROMPT ••• Yesterday, we observed Good Friday, the day Jesus was tortured, beaten, and executed for our sins.
He was a sacrifice so pure and perfect, His death was the one and only ultimate payment to cover the sins of all humanity.
I cannot fathom the pain Jesus suffered that day – the physical pain of being beaten or nailed to a cross.
Nor can I imagine the mental pain of being so emotionally abused by the very people He was dying for…
I can’t wrap my brain around His silence; His willingness to do what He did; nor His spiritual anguish, grief, despair, and abandonment.
But today, I want to focus on the crown of thorns.
A crudely made crown of thorns shoved down tightly on Jesus’ head by a group of soldiers who took perverse pleasure in tormenting a beaten Man.
John 19:2 says, “The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put a purple robe on him.”
Bear in mind, in verse 1, Pilate had only ordered Jesus to be flogged with a lead-tipped whip (and I use the term “only” loosely – it was a barbaric punishment for someone Pilate deemed innocent).
But in verse 2, the soldiers went the extra mile, so to speak, in their cruel assignment.
Their hated for Jesus was so great, they were willing to create a ring of thorns that would have torn their own hands as they made it.
This crown was on Jesus’ head when He was re-interviewed by Pilate.
Can you imagine?
The blood dripping and mixing with sweat, running down Jesus’ face?
Getting into His eyes?
Trickling down onto His neck and in His ears?
Did He wipe the blood away?
Was He able to clear His eyes or were they so swollen shut from His beating that it didn’t matter?
Was there anyone among the soldiers who thought, or was maybe even bold enough to say, “Hey guys, enough is enough. This is too much.”?
Scripture doesn’t tell us.
And consider this: Jesus loved those soldiers.
He wasn’t angry at them.
He was sorry for them.
He knew they didn’t understand.
Later, as He hung on the cross, gasping for breath as nerve endings jumped from the pain of the nails in His hands and feet, Jesus begged God to forgive them (Luke 23:34).
With blood dripping from His head from a tangle of thorns, Jesus showed His incredible compassion, grace, and mercy.
When you think of that crown of thorns, and when we think about all Jesus went through, let’s think about the love He extended to the soldiers, and offers to all of us.
I want us all to think about the oft-used phrase, “I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.”
And with that thought remember the commandment given by Jesus Himself, in Matthew 5:44, “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”
Today, let’s praise Jesus for all He suffered and yet, through it all, epitomized the grace and forgiveness none of us deserve.
For because of all of it, tomorrow we can declare with joy and celebration, “HE IS RISEN!!!”