A Manger, a Crown of Thorns and a Cross

Isaiah prophesized of Him saying, He was oppressed, [yet when] He was afflicted, He was submissive and opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth (Isaiah 53:7). In His birth, YAHSHUA joined those selected chosen lambs destined for temple sacrifice. He came to earth as the Lamb of God also destined to be sacrificed for the salvation of mankind once and for all, because blood of animals is powerless to take sins away.

The Crown of Thorns

And the soldiers having twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and threw a purple cloak around Him, and they kept coming to Him and saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they struck Him with the palms of their hands (John 19:2-3).

The plant from where this crown was derived is not known for sure, but it is believed by some that it was the nabk plant for its flexibility and abundance in Jerusalem.

The crown of thorns the soldiers put on YAHSHUA’S head and the purple cloak they threw around Him were expressions of mockery of His kingship.  The crown was from a thorny plant fashioned into a crown. This was an object of the curse placed on the One Who would deliver us from the curse. When Adam sinned, God removed His blessings from them and decreed them to be under the curse. He said to Adam, Because you have listened and given heed to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you… the ground is under a curse because of you; in sorrow and toil shall you eat of it all the days of your life, thorns and thistles shall it bring forth for you, and you shall eat the plants of the field in the sweat of your face shall you eat bread until you return to the ground (Gen. 3: 17-19a). The Roman soldiers delighted themselves in crowning YAHSHUA with scorn (the crown of thorns and the purple robe), not knowing they were in fact and in other words declaring Him to be King. His two roles were represented here: a suffering Servant, Isaiah 53 and King Revelation 19. As a Servant, He humbled Himself to the point of death. In Philippians chapter 2 the apostle Paul defines YAHSHUA’S humility as a Servant:  And after He (YAHSHUA) had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself and carried His obedience to the extreme of death even death of the cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, that in (at) the name of YAHSHUA every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess and acknowledge that YAHSHUA the Messiah is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2: 8-11); John declares Him  King in Revelation 19:16: on His robe and thigh He has a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (Rev. 19: 16)  The crown of thorns is a reminder to all of us that is He is King of kings and will always be until eternity.

The Cross

Death by crucifixion had its origin with the ancient Persians by Alexander the Great. The Roman Empire adopted the practice and used it on slaves, rebels, enemies and criminals. But Emperor Constantine abolished the practice when Christianity became the state religion.

Death by crucifixion was the cruelest punishment applied to men; it was a painful and slow death. It could take hours or days for a person to die. Meanwhile the person was exposed to the elements of nature and to the eyes of the world. Death finally came through asphyxiation. The word of God defines death by cross a curse. “A hanged man is accursed by God” (Deut. 21:22b). Paul said, By His death on the cross, He became a curse for us, for it is written, Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree. (Gal. 3:13b).  We wonder why the Savior chose such cruel death, only to realize that the severity of punishment He chose was because of the severity of our sin and its consequences. Not only did He pay our punishment in full, but also He became a curse for us.  Crucifixion was done by nailing the victim’s arms to the cross-arm part, then the left foot pressed on to the right foot on the upright part; a nail was put through the arch of both feet. That enabled the victim to push down to release the weight of the hands. He remained struggling until death by asphyxiation. A sign was posted above the victim’s head stating his crime. YAHSHUA’S crime according to the Jews was that He said to be their King. So Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews.

Oh the struggles one had to go through to fight for whatever was left of his life! One cannot imagine. But to suffer the rejection of God at the same time that was unbearable! That moment when YAHSHUA was under the Father’s curse, He felt His rejection and cried for all to hear: My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from healing me, and from the words of my groaning? O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You answer not; and by night I am not silent or find no rest (Psalm 22: 1-2). YAHSHUA’S death fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies and the Law.

In the desert when Israel again murmured against God, He sent fiery serpents to bite them. To be healed from their bite, God told Moses to make a serpent of bronze and place it on a pole, and all who at looked at the serpent would be healed. That bronze serpent foreshadowed YAHSHUA when He was lifted up on a cross and healed all who looked at Him. He told Nicodemus that “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up in order that everyone who believes in Him may not perish, but have eternal life and live forever” (John 3:14-15). God made YAHSHUA Who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (II Cor. 5:21). Today you can be free from the curse and condemnation of sin, if by faith you look at the One Who was made a curse for you on the cross. For God so loved you to the extent of making His Son a curse for you. That cross was not His; it was yours and mine!

A manger, a crown of thorns and a cross were given Him; in return He gave us His love, peace, and life eternal with Him in heaven. We are debtors to Him as long as we live. We can never pay Him back what He did for us, but we can love Him by obedience and service in complete submission.

Author: Jacinta da Cruz Rodgers

I have been committed to teaching the truth of the Word of God beginning with Trans World Radio on Bonaire, N.A and Swaziland, Africa (1969-1980), then through churches in the United States in both English and Portuguese and then through ministry in Israel (2005-2006). This ministry continues through local Bible studies and outreach to the world via the internet. I have written a book about my life from that of an orphan in Brazil to missionary in 5 countries. You can find out more on the "Book" page of our blog site.

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