Devotional Week 13 Thursday
“Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name of renown, for an everlasting sign of jubilant exaltation and memorial to His praise, which shall not be cut off.”
Isaiah 55: 13
“These words (above) unveil one of the great ways of our God. He displaces one thing by another. The fir comes up in strength and fills the place that was occupied by the thorn. The myrtle appears in vigour and makes its home in the bed of the brier. And so it is in the soul of (God’s child). God crowds out one thing by another and the first thing withers away. He imparts His own spirit, and the new spirit excludes the old temper. He gives a vision and some prejudice dies. He plants a royal virtue and some miserable vice disappears. This is how the Lord makes His gardens…He gives His own joy, and the thorns of discontent cannot live beside it, and the briers of moroseness and bitterness pass away. That is the great secret of the transformed wilderness. It is our part to abide in the great Gardener, and He will make His own garden.”
Today’s Study Text:
“And, weaving a crown of thorns, they put it on His head and put a reed (staff) in His right hand. And kneeling before Him, they made sport of Him, saying, ‘Hail- greetings, good health to You, long life to You, King of the Jews!”
Matthew 27: 29
]“Lest I Forget” – Part 4
“Lest I Forget Thy Thorn – Crowned Brow”
“O sacred head, sore wounded
With grief and shame bowed down
Now scornfully surrounded
With thorns, Thy only crown.”
What do I believe my response would have been when the crown of thorns was shoved into the skin on Jesus’ head?
I See His Blood Upon the Rose
“I see His blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of His eyes,
His body gleams amid eternal snows,
His tears fall from the skies.
I see His face in every flower;
The thunder and the singing of the birds
Are but His voice – and carved by His power
Rocks are His written words.
All pathways by His feet are worn,
His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,
His cross is every tree.”
Joseph Mary Plunkett
“One crown not any seek,
And yet the highest head
Its isolation coveted,
Its stigma deified.”
“Lest I Forget Thy Thorned-Crowned Brow”
Of all the torturous events which transpired on the Friday of Jesus’ death, the one act which I find most dreadful is the way the mocking crowd cheered when a crown of thorns was jammed down onto the head of Jesus. While all the physical brutality was beyond belief, it makes me shiver to think of thorns piercing the skin of my Saviour’s head.
Having suffered with migraine headaches from the time I was 8 years old until our car accident, I remember many times when I felt as if the pain would cause my head to explode. One particular day I can still recall lying on the floor in my bathroom because the nausea caused by the pain became so severe I feared I wouldn’t be able to even get out of bed if I needed to.
It was during one of these terrible events when the thought passed through my mind, “Jesus knows what it is like to suffer a headache.” And I must tell you, at that moment the thought that Jesus understood gave me such comfort.
Maybe you too have been bombarded by severe pain and as you look at Jesus, standing with a thorny crown upon His head, the compassion in His eyes radiates His love throughout your entire being as well. The fact is that the crown which lay on our dear Saviour’s head, as one of my favorite poet’s Emily Dickinson penned, is indeed “One that not any seek.” And yet, the Son of God willingly set aside His position in the glory of heaven, coming to earth where He was mocked, spat upon, and a platted crown of thorns was forced upon Him, sending blood trickling down His face. In the words of one Christian author, “Wonder, O heavens! And be astonished, O earth! Behold the oppressors and the oppressed…Mocking and jeering…the insulting sneers are passed from lip to lip.” Oh, how my heart breaks to think of this unkind treatment of our perfect Lord. The scene is too painful to even conceive.
This is why I want to go to the words recorded by the Apostle John who referred to himself as “the disciple Jesus loved.” John was the only disciple who made two notations regarding this event: “And the soldiers, having twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and threw a purple cloak around Him…So Jesus came out wearing the thorny crown and purple cloak, and Pilate said to them, ‘See, here is the Man!’” (John 19: 2, 5, Amplified Bible). I find John’s words to be a vital detail for many scholars believe that the book of Revelation, which is the last book in the Bible, was actually not the last book the disciple John wrote. While John tells us that Revelation was written on the Island of Patmos, scholars believe that when John was living his final years in Ephesus, He wrote the gospel of John at that time. This got me to thinking about the message John left for us in Revelation about the “crown” that will adorn the head of our Saviour when He returns to take His children home for all eternity. As John wrote, “I looked, and behold, I saw a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud One resembling a Son of Man, with a crown of gold on His head” (Revelation 14: 14, Amplified Bible). I can’t help but reflect on how John felt as he wrote about the crown of thorns knowing that with the backdrop of eternal life in his thoughts, that Jesus, the victorious King would be wearing the victor’s crown of gold. But this isn’t all the Bible tells us about crowns. At first I thought it best to just focus our devotional on the thorny crown, but to do so would be inaccurate for the Apostle Paul had this blessed news to share with his “son in the faith,” Timothy:
“I have fought the good, worthy, honorable fight, I have finished the race. I have kept firmly the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for me the victor’s crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on that great day – and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and yearned for and welcomed His return.”
II Timothy 4: 7,8
May our response today be that of William Ralf Featherstone who penned the words to the favorite hymn, “My Jesus I Love Thee.”
“I love Thee because Thou first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus ‘tis now.”
I Thee Adore
“Despised! Rejected by the priests – led roar
of the multitude! The imperial purple flung
about the form the hissing scourge had stung,
witnessing naked to the truth it bore!
True Son of Father true, I Thee adore.
Even the mocking purple truthful hung
On Thy true shoulders, bleeding its fold among.
For Thou wast King, art King for evermore!
‘I know the Father; He knows the truth.’
Truth-witness, therefore the one essential king,
With Thee I die, with Thee live worshipping!
O human God, O brother, eldest born,
Never but Thee was there a man in sooth,
Never a crown but Thy crown of thorn.”
“The head that once was crowned with thorns
Is crowned with glory now;
A royal diadem adorns
The mighty victor’s brow.
The highest place that heaven affords
Is His, is His by right,
The King of kings, and Lord of lords,
And heaven’s eternal Light;
The cross He bore is life and health,
Though shame and death to Him;
His people’s hope, His people’s wealth,
Their everlasting theme.”
“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ.”
II Corinthians 2: 14
Crown Him With Many Crowns
“Crown Him with many crowns,
The Lamb upon His throne;
Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns
All music but its own!
Awake, my soul, and sing
Of Him who died for Thee;
And hail Him as thy matchless King
Through all eternity.
Crown Him the Lord of love!
Behold His hands and side,
These wounds, yet visible above,
In beauty glorified;
No angel in the sky
Can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends His wondering eye
At mysteries so great.”
Matthew Brides (1851)
Reverend Godfrey Thring (1874)
Today I chose a choral version of the wondrous hymn “Crown Him With Many Crowns”. For just a moment, put yourself within the mighty heavenly chorus singing this joyful hymn of praise to our Creator, Saviour and eternal Friend.
“Crown Him With Many Crowns”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus