John 19:2
The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and dressed Him in a purple robe.
Sermons
A Pillow Without ThornsR. Besser, D. D., Bp. Ryle.John 19:2
The Crown of ThornsWilson's "Lands of the Bible.", Roger's "Domestic Life in Palestine."John 19:2
The Crown of ThornsJ.R. Thomson John 19:2
The Martyr's CrownBp. Ryle.John 19:2
The Mock CrownHomiletic MagazineJohn 19:2
The Unwilling TributeWeekly PulpitJohn 19:2
How deeply the incident here related impressed itself upon the mind and heart of Christendom is manifest

(1) from the romantic legends current among Christians regarding it, from the time of Helena, the mother of Constantine, downwards; and

(2) from the frequent representations of the thorn-crowned Redeemer produced by Christian painters, who have used all the resources of their art to give to the "Ecce Homo!" the interest of sorrow and of spiritual beauty.

I. THE OBVIOUS AND ORIGINAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CROWN OF THORNS.

1. It was an evidence of the cruelty and brutality of Christ's foes. The actual plaiting of the crown, and the actual placing of it upon the holy Sufferer's head was the deed of the Roman soldiers. Insensibility to the pain experienced by Jesus may have been natural to such men; but the mockery and scorn displayed in the pretence of homage must have been learned from the Jews.

2. It was an opportunity for Jesus to exhibit those moral qualities which have ever since been peculiarly associated with his name. His patience, his meekness, this dignity, were never more conspicuous than when he was insulted and ill used by his calumniators and foes. Nor can we see that such dispositions could have been so strikingly exhibited except in circumstances such as those in which the Man of sorrows was then placed.

II. THE SYMBOLIC AND PROPHETIC SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CROWN OF THORNS.

1. This affecting coronation is an emblem of our Savior's earthly ministry. His career brought together the hate and the loving devotion of multitudes; it was marked by poverty and lowliness, and yet by a majesty quite unique; he was despised and rejected of men, yet his teaching constrained the exclamation, "Never man spake like this Man!" and his miracles constrained the cry, "What manner of Man is this?" The thorns of hatred and contempt were thrust into his head; yet love and loyalty wrought them into a victor's wreath, a monarch's diadem.

2. The crowning of Jesus with thorns symbolized the character of the religion which he founded. The cross was followed by the resurrection; the entombment by the ascension. Thus God brought together, in the career of his own Son, the profoundest humiliation and the most exalted glory. And this arrangement represents the nature of Christianity. It is a religion of humility, contrition, and repentance, and also of peace, victory, and power. It smites the sinner to the earth; it raises the pardoned penitent to heaven.

3. This incident was prophetic of the progress and the victory of the Christian faith. Our religion has indeed triumphed, but it has triumphed through suffering. Its onward course has been marked by the blood of confessors, martyrs, and missionaries, and by the toil and anguish of thousands of faithful promulgators. The thorns of suffering are the means; the crown of glory and of conquest is the end. Christ was made perfect through suffering, and his Church shall reach a universal dominion only by a toilsome path of strife, watered by tears and stained with blood. - T.







The soldiers platted a crown of thorns.
Weekly Pulpit.
According to prophecy the Messiah was to fill the three offices of Prophet, Priest, and King. Carnal expectation ignored the two former, and built its hopes on the latter. They were unwilling to be taught by the Prophet, they could not support the Priest, as His demand of sacrifices and offerings was beyond the extent of their love for religion; but they were willing that a King might reign over them. The kingly idea attached to the person of Christ agitated them the most. The Roman soldiers crowned and worshipped Him in derision; these were the rugged steps leading up to His throne.

I. THE CROWN OF THORNS WAS AN EMBLEM OF THE ASCENDANCY OF JESUS THROUGH SUFFERING TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE WORLD. "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things?" &c. The course was not understood by His persecutors, "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels," &c. He gave to all the subjects of His future kingdom an example of —

1. Willing service. Even with the crown on His head, His last strength was spent in the service of truth and justice.

2. Entire submission to the will of God. "He was oppressed," &c. Such an example of service and submission claims for Him the crown which the thorns symbolized.

II. THE PURPLE ROBE WAS EMBLEMATIC OF THE POWER WHICH HE WOULD EXERCISE OVER MANKIND. The other evangelists call it scarlet, but a robe with the colour of red in it was generally called purple. The one used was, no doubt, an old left-off robe of the proconsul. It was an emblem of power, worn by governors and generals. A reed was also put in His hand to represent the seeptre. Jesus is King —

1. By Divine appointment. "Yet have I set My King upon My holy Hill of Zion." The government was to be on His shoulder. All judgments are committed to His care.

2. By virtue of His influence. Men's thoughts are captive to the obedience of Christ. The hearts of the sons of men are in His hand. The kingdoms of this world are bowing to His authority. The angels of God worship Him.

III. THE MOCK HOMAGE WHICH WAS PAID IS AN EMBLEM OF THE ADORATION WHICH HE WILL RECEIVE (ver. 3). They saluted Him in terms of loyalty which they did not feel; but myriads have since said, "Crown Him Lord of all." The vision reveals the four and twenty elders casting their crowns before the throne. And in another vision, "On His head were many crowns."

(Weekly Pulpit.)

Homiletic Magazine.
God intended that the evil of sin should be fully manifest by the death of Christ. Those who had a hand in it show by their malignant spirit what a hell the world would become if there were no check upon it. But submitting as He did, Christ checked that spirit, and seemed to say, "Do your worst on Me, and let it suffice for ever."

I. TO WEAR THIS CROWN CHRIST HAD LAID ASIDE THAT OF DIVINE MAJESTY. What a contrast is here. They mocked Him in all His characters. As a Prophet they said, "Prophesy unto us"; as a Priest, "He saved others," &c. In bitter scorn of His Kingly claims, they crowned him with thorns. We can pity the great who are degraded, or impoverished, because, being human, we can measure the depth of their descent; but we have no power to gauge the height from which Christ "humbled Himself." He left a world of glory for one of meanness, one of purity for one of crime, &c. He who had created all things was sold for thirty pieces of silver. He who was the source of bliss suffered anguish. He who had worn the royal robes of heaven was clad in a cast-off robe of office. He who had borne the crown of the universe was tormented with the spiky circlet of mockery. None could have placed it on His brow but by His consent; and the power by which He laid aside the one led Him to receive the other.

II. BY WEARING THIS CROWN OF MOCKERY CHRIST ADDED A GLORY TO THAT WHICH HE WEARS ETERNALLY. It is not the weight of gold in a crown, or its jewels, that are the measure of its value, but the character of its wearer. Judged thus, what glory attaches to the crown of Christ! It was wondrous love to man that led Him to wear the thorn-crown, and never was there such a crown as that which He now wears. We have read of crowns given for distinguished services, of crowns won by splendid victories, of crowns worn by hereditary right, royal crowns, imperial crowns, &c., but where is one like that which Jesus now wears? He conquered suffering and death for us, and now every spike of that mock crown is a jewel inwrought with that of His Divine majesty.

III. BY WEARING THE MOCK CROWS CHRIST GAINED A FURTHER RIGHT TO BESTOW A CROWN OF LIFE ON ALL THE FAITHFUL — one without thorns. "Be thou faithful unto death," &c. "To Him that overcometh," &c. That which Christ died to obtain at such a cost must be worth having. Eternal bliss alone could balance such Divine sufferings. We may say, like Paul, "With a great sum obtained I this freedom." "Ye were not redeemed," &c. As Jonathan stripped Himself (1 Samuel 18:4) of his royal robes and put them, as signs of honour and love, on David, so Jesus was stripped that we might have the covering of His righteousness. He hungered, thirsted, sorrowed, was made a curse, &c., that we might not hunger, &c.

IV. THE POWER CHRIST GAINED OVER HUMAN SOULS BY WEARING THAT MOCK CROWN.

1. Men are led to mourn the guilt that brought Him such pain. "Weep not for Me" He said, knowing that the sin which could so treat Him was far more terrible than all suffering. Thorns are pressed on Him such as these —

(1)Indifference to His sufferings.

(2)Unbelief in His great work.

(3)Unreality of professed belief.

(4)Inconsistency of life.

(5)Greed of worldly gain and pleasure.

(6)Neglect of others for whom He died. Surely He has had thorns enough thrust in already. Will you add more?

2. He gains such intense affection as He could have obtained in no other way. We could never have loved majesty or power; but Jesus we can love as God manifest in the flesh. Nothing arouses love like a sight of the crucified Saviour. Hence the cross has been His stepping-stone to dominion over souls.

(Homiletic Magazine.)

Of other plants growing in the vale of Jericho, we noticed the Nebk, the most abundant thorn in the Holy Land. Hasselquist ("Voyage and Travels") says, "In all probability this is the tree which afforded the crown of thorns put on the Head of Christ: it grows very common in the East." This plant was very fit for the purpose, for it has many small and sharp spines, which are well adapted to give pain. The crown might be easily made of these soft, round, and pliant branches: and what in my opinion seems to be the greatest proof, is, that the leaves much resemble those of ivy, as they are of a very deep green. Perhaps the enemies of Christ would have a plant somewhat resembling that with which emperors and generals were used to be crowned, that there might be calumny even in the punishment.

(Wilson's "Lands of the Bible.")The thorn bushes, which during the summer and autumn had been so dark and bare, were clothed with delicate green sprays of finely-serrated leaves, which almost hid the sharp, cruel-looking thorns. They were sprinkled with little round buds; when they opened, they threw out silky tufts of crimson, crowned with golden-coloured powder. The seed vessel is round, and divided into four quarters: at first it is almost white, but gradually becomes pink: and at the apex there is a little green tuft, in the shape of a Greek cross. When the seed is quite ripe, it is about half-an-inch in diameter, and of a very shining red colour. I have never seen a plant of which so beautiful, and at the same time so cruel, a crown could be composed. This thorn is the Proterium spinosum. About Easter it is seen in all its beauty, the leaves glossy and full-grown, the fruit or seed-vessels brilliantly red, like drops of blood, and the thorns sharper and stronger than at any other time. No plant or bush is so common on the hills of Judaea, Galilee, and Carmel as this.

(Roger's "Domestic Life in Palestine.")

When John Huss, the martyr, was brought forth to be burned, they put a paper over his head, on which were pictured three devils, and the title, "heresiarch." When he saw it, he said, "My Lord Jesus Christ, for my sake, did wear a crown of thorns: why should not I, therefore, for His sake, wear this ignominious crown?"

(Bp. Ryle.)

How well did that converted Tahitian, Barn his name was, understand the comfort to be derived from these thorn.wounds of Jesus; when on his deathbed, he said: "The blood of Jesus is my sure foundation. He is the best of all kings. He gives me a pillow for my head without thorns."

(R. Besser, D. D.)

They put on Him a purple robe. — This again was done as a mark of contempt and derision, in order to show how ridiculous and contemptible was the idea of His kingdom. The colour, "purple," was doubtless meant to be a derisive imitation of the well-known imperial purple, the colour worn by emperors. Some have thought that this robe was only an old soldier's cape, such as a guard-house would easily furnish. Some, with more show of probability, have thought that this "robe" must be the "gorgeous robe" which Herod put on our Lord, mentioned by St. Luke, when he sent Him back to Pilate (Luke 23:11), a circumstance which John has not recorded. In any case we need not doubt that the "robe" was some shabby, cast-off garment. It is worth remembering that this brilliant colour, scarlet or purple, would make our blessed Lord a most conspicuous object to every eye, when He was led through the streets from Herod, or brought forth from Pilate's house to the assembled multitude of Jews. We should call to mind the symbolical nature of this transaction also. Our Lord was clothed with a robe of shame and contempt, that we might be clothed with a spotless garment of righteousness, and stand in white robes before the throne of God.

(Bp. Ryle.)

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