I was pulled out of my natural habitat. The little beauty that I carried, the little red flowers, were all stripped away. Then I was grabbed roughly and ripped off the bush by a soldier’s hands and twisted with breaking tension into a tight circle – a crown.
I knew kings wore crowns made of precious metals and stones. I also knew the closest I would ever get to a palace was as I was growing in the royal garden and blooming with pretty flowers. Yet stripped like this, brown and bare, I was only fit for the fire. The soldier laid me down on a short stone pillar nearby and I heard mocking whispers of the King of the Jews. The soliders were excited, chatting and shuffling to and fro. Then I saw Him, the reason for all the racket; a tall, well-built man, with a peaceful face, pure eyes that stayed on the ground below Him.
The soldiers stripped Him with angry hands. This couldn’t be right! Yet, without a fight, he obliged. I was grabbed again and forced onto the gentle Man’s head. My thorny exterior tore into His tender skin, beads of blood appeared then run down His face. He remained still; not a grimace, not a sound.
Suddenly I felt something different. His blood on my bark-like skin revived the sap inside my veins and I felt like leaves and flowers would bloom to life again even though I had been disconnected from the earth. There was something special about this man, but why was he being mocked and beaten? And why was I, a bare branch of thorns, made to sit on the brow of such a pure soul?
I remembered, one day as I flowered in the royal garden, one of the priests read out loud from Isaiah:
He is despised and rejected by men
He was bruised for our iniquities
He was oppressed and he was afflicted
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter
By oppression and judgement he was taken away
And still he did not open his mouth.
The soldiers spat on him and laughed as they called him the ‘king of the Jews’. They agreed that it was time to take him to His final destination, the “Place of the Skull”. The streets were filled with people. Most of the women wept as He carried His cross. He got tired and fell. One man came up and helped Him carry the cross. I heard mixed voices shout out “crucify Him”. In the hot sun, I felt the heat on his brow intensifying. His head began to throb as His blood mingled with sweat trickled down. If it were possible, I would have left his head. I was sure that I sat on the wrong head, a head that did not deserve the sorrow, the agony and the wrath of my sharp spikes.
In no time, the cross was up. I felt His head swell under my tight grip, His pain increasing. I was helpless to free myself from this innocent Man. Suddenly He cried out in a loud voice “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” and again, “Father into your hands I commit my spirit”. Having said this, He bowed His head and breathed His last. The throbbing in His head that I had felt under me was no more. He started to go cold.
At the foot of the cross stood a centurion, a royal soldiers. He knelt and said, “urely, this man was the Son of God”. What? I could have asked him to say that again. The Son of God treated worse than a common thief? Mocked by me, a crown of thorns, and the soldiers yet He did not cry out or threathen them. Again I remembered what the priest read from Isaiah.
I had never heard anything like this.
He was taken down
and I was pulled off his head.
I was laid at the foot of the cross,
Where I belong and where all darkness belongs:
All pain, agony and the curse –
And in exchange for His death,
all humanity can have joy,
peace, love and life eternal.