I have a new understanding for the crown Jesus was forced to wear when he was crucified. Meet the “Crown of Thorns” plant. It grows like crazy here in Cambodia.
Its beautiful, and its leaves are long covering the thorns that grow on the stems of the plant. It puts out pretty clusters of spotted pink flowers. The plant is so unique, so I wanted to add one to my “garden.” At the time I didn’t realize that there were such big thorns that grow on them. Perhaps if I had known the name, I would have been “clued in.”
Now, I have two of these plants outside my kitchen window and two large ones that came with the house out front. I have learned that they are very sturdy plants, even from things falling from above. I had a pole fall on one the other day. It lost a few leaves and flowers, but the thorns protected the rest of the plant. One day, I caught my finger on a thorn while watering it, and it struck blood. I began wondering what the name of this beautiful yet dangerous plant was, so I did a search. Google showed me “Crown of Thorns” (Euphorbia milii) was indeed the name of this plant. The history of this plant is fascinating, too. According to Wikipedia, it originated in Madagascar and it was brought to France in the early 1800s. I can only imagine that it must have traveled to Cambodia while it was also a French colony.
After learning this new information, I remembered my encounter with the plant earlier that week, and how much a single prick hurt. I can not even imagine what something similar on your head would be like. Yet, Jesus wore a crown full of thorns just as this.
27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into headquarters and gathered the whole company around Him. 28 They stripped Him and dressed Him in a scarlet military robe. 29 They twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and placed a reed in His right hand. And they knelt down before Him and mocked Him: “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 Then they spit on Him, took the reed, and kept hitting Him on the head. 31 When they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the robe, put His clothes on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him. -Matthew 27:27-31 (HCSB)
As I reread this portion of the story in all four gospels, something occurred to me. When they placed the crown on Jesus’ head, they were at a Roman military headquarters. It says that they gathered the entire company together. All of them saw this and perhaps participated in the mocking. However, later that day, one centurion’s heart is changed:
44 It was now about the sixth hour (midday), and darkness enveloped the whole land and earth until the ninth hour (about three o’clock in the afternoon), 45 While the sun’s light faded or was darkened; and the curtain [of the Holy of Holies] of the temple was torn in two. 46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit! And with these words, He expired. 47 Now the centurion, having seen what had taken place, recognized God and thanked and praised Him, and said, Indeed, without question, this Man was upright (just and innocent)!
-Luke 23:44-47 (AMP)
Everyday as I water this plant, it is a reminder of the kind of love God has for me.