By Mariah Mulderink
How Do We See the Crown of Thorns?
Let’s start with how we view crowns in general. I only have my own experience to go off of, but I would say growing up, crowns were something to be desired. If we are talking about the Disney princess crown from all the movies I watched as a little girl, crowns were beautiful and meant you were someone special. In fact, you could almost say from that perspective, having a crown meant you had it really good. Now, if I stop and ponder the crowns I learned about in history class, I would say that crowns meant you were probably very respected and had a lot of power. People looked to you for leadership and guidance. You had a lot of privilege. Also, a crown did not mean you were necessarily good.
Maybe your perspective of crowns is similar to mine and maybe it isn’t. Whatever your perspective of crowns may be, I want you to consider it for a moment. Once you do, I want you to shift your thoughts to Christ’s Crown of Thorns.
If we look at the Crown of Thorns for what it was intended to be, we will see mockery and derision. The Crown of Thorns was meant to demean Christ. We read in Mark 15:17-19 “They clothed him in purple and, weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him. They began to salute him with, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him.” Reading this Scripture and considering not only how Christ’s person was attacked, but also the real physical pain He endured, makes the Crown of Thorns seem like something which can only denote suffering and evil.
So, why is the Crown of Thorns something we seem to have devotion to? Why is Christ frequently depicted wearing it? Even in an image such as His Sacred Heart, we see the Crown of Thorns wrapped around Christ’s heart. Perhaps, it is because the Crown of Thorns means so much more than what it was intended to.
What Does the Crown of Thorns Represent?
The Crown of Thorns represents the Kingship of Christ. Yes, the soldiers made it to be a mockery of Him. However, God is greater and triumphs over all evil and was able to use that device of torture to represent what it meant for Christ to be King. The Crown of Thorns is not a symbol of defeat but is rather a symbol of Christ’s glorious Kingship and His triumph over sin and death. By wearing the Crown of Thorns, Christ revealed to us the kind of king we need. He showed the world what a crown really symbolizes and what a king ought to be.
The Crown of Thorns is a Crown of Glory
The Crown of Thorns reveals that a king ought to be ready to lay down his life for his people. This is what Christ the King did. A crown is not something lofty or something which denotes privilege. It is meant to be weighty. It denotes someone who is responsible for the well-being of a group of people, in the case of Christ, all people. If a king were to wear his crown and rule his people without enduring any hardship...he is not doing it right. By this, I simply mean that a king ought to endure hardship because it shows a commitment to his people. It shows that he places all others above himself.
What Christ’s Crown of Thorns revealed was a true King. Christ the King did lay down His life for His people. Christ the King suffered so that His people would not suffer so much. This is why the image of the Crown of Thorns is still commemorated today. It is not a symbol of defeat. It is not something demeaning to Christ. Rather, it reveals a triumph. It reveals the glorious Kingship of Christ.
How Do We Respond to the Crown of Thorns?
Christ is our King, a King that wears a Crown of Thorns. What does that mean for us as His people? As I pondered this, I called to mind a quotation from St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, “Woe to me if I should prove myself but a half-hearted soldier in the service of my thorn-crowned Captain.”
Christ’s Crown of Thorns warrants a response, and it is most definitely not a half-hearted one. We are the people of a King who endured tremendous suffering; a King who chose a Crown of Thorns versus a crown of gold; a King who died for us. Such a King merits a people of courage, devotion, and tremendous love. Just as He laid down His life for us, we too must lay down our lives for Him.
Continue to join us each week as we work our way through each of the sorrowful mysteries. Catch up here. We hope that it will help you in your contemplation each day as you pray the Rosary. Please also, take a moment to check out some of our other resources to aid you in your devotion to the Rosary.
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Mariah Mulderink is wife, mom, Masters in Theology student, and former marketing director (and lifelong friend) of Chews Life. Her greatest joys are her faith, her family, her friends, and any chance to be competitive. For her, one of the greatest privileges she has received is the opportunity to pursue her Masters in Theology. Studying the faith is not only fascinating but is also a beautiful way to know God better. She hopes her studies and her faith will always equip her to share Christ in her work and with every person she meets.
You can find out more about her here.