Crown of Thorns
The plant from which this “crown” was made is thought to be “Euphorbia splendens”
- Probably from Madagascar, by way of N. Africa, a century or so before Christ
- The names allude to the belief that the crown of thorns was made from stems of this plant.
- The stems of this plant are pliable, while fresh, and can be intertwined into a circle.
- It a woody, spiny, climbing succulent shrub with shoots reaching a height of 6 feet. The plant flowers nearly all year, and especially in the winter.
- The plant is a member of the family Spurge family, which include the Poinsettia, Castor Bean, the rubber plants, and the Cassava (from which we get tapioca). Most members of this family exude a sticky white sap, which is poisonous if ingested, and has been used for arrow poisons. But it has also been used for medicinal purposes. The name, Spurge, comes from the same root as purge, alluding to its main use when taken internally.
From where did this crown come? Were the thorns growing between the cobbles of the courtyard, or from the kindling around the courtyard fire?
This abuse of His head would have reminded Christ that He was being temporarily overcome by the serpent as foretold by God in Eden.
- His mind was certainly in Eden, for He spoke of the Kingdom as ” paradise” , with evident allusion to Eden. (see Luke 23:43)
NOTE: The Lord was beaten up at least three times: by the Jewish guards, by Herod’s men and by the Roman soldiers.
- Thus, in a very literal sense He was bruised for our iniquities, and chastised for us in order to obtain for us the peace of sins forgiven. (see Isaiah 53:5)
- Here again, the Father surely foresaw all this back in Genesis 3:15, where the promised seed was to be bruised. Indeed, He willed (not ” pleased”) this bruising, and this putting to grief. (Isaiah 53:10)
This crown of thorns was clearly a mockery of Christ and His claim to kingship. More than that it was a mockery of Him as a man, since a Roman custom called for brides to be crowned thus, but by lesser thorns.
And it was not only a mockery, but a significant part of the physical torture of crucifixion.
- When the extensive net of nerves and veins under the skin of the scalp are pierced, profuse bleeding and a stunning head ache soon occurs. His entire head became a bloody mass.
Also, this “crown” would have been a wreath, a “stephanos” similar to that worn by the Emperor Tiberius. Here again the mockery was clear – and the supposed humiliation under the Roman Caesar!
Let us pray: Jesus, Savior of the World, have mercy on me. You to Whom nothing is impossible, bestow mercy to the wretched. O Christ, Who by Your Cross, have redeemed the world, hear us. O Lord, You are our strength, our glory, and our salvation. O Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, accept this prayer, with that surpassing love, with which You did endure all the Wounds in Your most Holy Body. Have mercy on us, and on all sinners, and on all the Faithful, wherever they may be. Grant them grace and mercy, remission of sins, and everlasting life. Amen.