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HIS CROWN OF THORNS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, February 7, 2010

“And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head” (Matthew 27:29-30).


The Roman soldiers of Christ’s time were cruel and heartless men. They were men so hardened by conflict that they could kill a child and laugh about it. They were like those Turkish soldiers that John Trapp told about. They took a man, “and when they had cut off his hands and nose, they put him…into the ground to the waist, and there, for their pleasure, shot at him with their arrows, and afterward cut his throat. What insolencies and cruelties they exercised upon our Saviour for our sake, even the whole band of them, we should read with regret for our sins [that brought about] all his sufferings; and see through his wounds the naked bowels…of his love to our poor souls” (John Trapp, A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, Tanski Publications, 1997 reprint, vol. 5, p. 273; note on Matthew 27:29).

Those bloodthirsty soldiers stripped Jesus of His clothing and scourged Him, cutting great wounds in His back (John 19:1). That gory beating was not the end of their cruelty. They put on Him a scarlet robe. Then they wove a crown of thorns and pushed it down upon His bleeding head. They put a wooden rod in His hand and bowed before Him, mocking and laughing, hitting Him over the head with the rod, and spitting in His face.

“And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head” (Matthew 27:29-30).

What humiliation and pain Jesus went through to save your soul! The word “platted,” in the King James, means “wove.”

“And when they had [woven] a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head” (Matthew 27:29).

Those wicked and cruel Roman soldiers had done things like this countless times. They were hardened by it – and so they had no pity on Jesus, when they crammed down the thorny spikes of their makeshift “crown” upon His head.

“And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head.”

I could bring forth many thoughts on Christ’s crown of thorns. But tonight we only have time for a few of them.

I. First, this was no ordinary man they crowned with thorns.

This was the Second Person of the Trinity, very God in human flesh, the incarnate Word of God that had come down among us!

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1-3).

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

“And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head” (Matthew 27:29).

See, how patient Jesus stands,
   Insulted in this awful place!
Sinners have bound the Almighty hands,
   And spit in their Creator’s face.

With thorns His temple gored and gashed,
   Send streams of blood from every part;
His back with heavy scourges lashed,
   But sharper scourges tear His heart.
(“His Passion” by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768; altered by Dr. Hymers;
   to the tune of “‘Tis Midnight, and on Olive’s Brow”).

Sinners bound the Almighty hands of the God-man Jesus Christ! They spit in the face of God the Son! They gored and gashed the head of God incarnate – and lashed the back of the Saviour of mankind! They pierced the scalp of Jesus Christ with a cruel crown of thorns!

O sacred Head, now wounded,
   With grief and shame weighed down;
Now scornfully surrounded
   With thorns, Thine only crown…

O make me Thine forever;
   And should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
   Outlive my love to Thee.
(“O Sacred Head, Now Wounded,” translated from German
     by James W. Alexander, 1804-1859).

“And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head” (Matthew 27:29).

II. Second, Christ’s crown of thorns was pictured in the Old
Testament Scriptures.

Matthew Henry said, Christ, crowned with thorns in His humiliation, was the fulfillment, the antitype “of Abraham’s ram caught in the thicket, and so offered up instead of Isaac” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Hendrickson Publishers, 1991 reprint, volume 5, p. 342; note on Matthew 27:29).

“And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son” (Genesis 22:13).

There on Mount Moriah Abraham saw a ram, caught in a thorny thicket by its horns. Abraham took the ram and offered it as “a burnt offering” in the place of his son Isaac. The word “thicket” is translated from a Hebrew word that means a thorny “brier” (Trapp, ibid., note on Genesis 22:13). Just so, the Son of God, crowned with thorns, was pictured by that ram. John Trapp said, “As God provided another sacrifice…for Abraham, so he might save his son, which was a ram…entangled in thorns: so God provided a sacrifice for the salvation of the world, Christ that immaculate Lamb; whose head [was] crowned with thorns” (Trapp, ibid., note on Genesis 22:13).

“And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head” (Matthew 27:29).

Jesus, your substitute, suffered, and then died in your place, to pay the full penalty for your sins. Instead of you going to Hell for your sins, Jesus went through the torture of scourging, the pain of the crown of thorns, and death on the Cross – as your substitute – in your place – to save you from the wrath of God against your sin. Yes, Jesus suffered and died in your place.

“He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

“…while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:8-9).

How doth the Blood-stained thorny crown
   Christ’s beauteous head transpierce!
How do the nails those hands and feet
   [Pierce through] with tortures fierce!
[Pierce through] with tortures fierce!

O come, all ye in whom are found
   The deadly stains of sin;
Come, wash in His all-saving blood,
   And ye shall be made clean,
And ye shall be made clean.
   (“Jesus Wounded” by Edward Caswell, 1849; altered by Dr. Hymers;
      to the tune of “Majestic Sweetness Sits Enthroned”).

Stand and sing it! Follow me!

III. Third, Christ’s crown of thorns showed that His Kingdom
is not of this world.

“And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!” (Matthew 27:29).

The Almighty God-man allowed those cruel Roman soldiers to push down a crown of thorns on His head, and mock Him, laughing at Him – and saying to the bleeding Saviour, “Hail, King of the Jews!”

The Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, heard that mockery and asked Jesus,

“Art thou the King of the Jews?” (John 18:33).

Jesus answered him,

“My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).

His Kingdom is coming in the future when “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ” (Revelation 11:15). Today He reigns over the hearts of those who come to Him and love Him. He suffered so that we might live!

“And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!” (Matthew 27:29).

There was no crown for Him of silver or of gold,
   There was no diadem for Him to hold;
But blood adorned His brow and proud its stains He bore,
   And sinners gave to Him the crown He wore.
A rugged cross became His throne,
   His kingdom was in hearts alone;
He wrote His love in crimson red,
   And wore the thorns upon His head.

He did not reign upon a throne of ivory,
   He died upon the cross of Calvary;
For sinners there He counted all He owned but loss,
   And He surveyed His kingdom from a cross.
A rugged cross became His throne,
   His kingdom was in hearts alone;
He wrote His love in crimson red,
   And wore the thorns upon His head.
(“A Crown of Thorns” by Ira F. Stanphill, 1914-1993).

Stand and sing the chorus with me! 

A rugged cross became His throne,
   His kingdom was in hearts alone;
He wrote His love in crimson red,
   And wore the thorns upon His head.

You may be seated. 

IV. Fourth, Christ’s crown of thorns showed that He became a
curse for us.

“And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head…” (Matthew 27:29).

Good and faithful Matthew Henry said that the sufferings, and the thorny crown on Christ’s head, healed the curse brought on us by Adam’s sin, for God said to Adam,

“Thorns also and thistles shall [the ground] bring forth to thee”
      (Genesis 3:18).

Matthew Henry said,

Thorns came in with sin, and were part of the curse that was the product of sin, Genesis 3:18. Therefore Christ, being made a curse for us, and dying to remove the curse from us, felt the pain…of those thorns (ibid.).

What a wonderful thought! Christ wore the thorns upon His head to remove the curse brought on the human race by Adam’s sin! The Bible says,

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Galatians 3:13).

Oh, blessed Saviour, Thou wast cursed in our place when Thou didst suffer so greatly, in pain and agony, to save us! Among Thy other sufferings, Thou didst wear a crown of thorns to redeem us from the curse of sin! How we pray that some who are lost here tonight will come to Thee in simple faith, and be washed from their sins by Thy precious Blood! Amen.

A rugged cross became His throne,
   His kingdom was in hearts alone;
He wrote His love in crimson red,
   And wore the thorns upon His head.

Please stand and sing it with me!

A rugged cross became His throne,
   His kingdom was in hearts alone;
He wrote His love in crimson red,
   And wore the thorns upon His head.

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers’ sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Matthew 27:27-31.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“A Crown of Thorns” (by Ira F. Stanphill, 1914-1993).


THE OUTLINE OF

HIS CROWN OF THORNS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head” (Matthew 27:29-30).

(John 19:1)

I.   First, this was no ordinary man they crowned with thorns,
John 1:1-3, 14.

II.  Second, Christ’s crown of thorns was pictured in the Old
Testament Scriptures, Genesis 22:13; Isaiah 53:5;
Romans 5:8-9.

III. Third, Christ’s crown of thorns showed that His Kingdom is
not of this world, John 18:33, 36; Revelation 11:15.

IV. Fourth, Christ’s crown of thorns showed that He became a
curse for us, Genesis 3:18; Galatians 3:13.