Tuesday, August 25, 2009


The story of Jesus begins at the Beginning. Literally. The Gospel of John affirms that Jesus eternally existed with the Father, and in fact, that he was not only with God, that he was God and that nothing was created apart from him.

Much can be said, and has been said, about the nature of Christ. But what amazes me when I consider this subject is that God knew what suffering He would endure before the creation of the world, and yet He still said, “Let there be light.”

He could have started over. He could have saved Himself a lot of pain and grief. But He didn’t. Instead, knowing the cross was inevitable, He took a breath and exhaled a Universe which He knew would include laying down His crown in order to become a sacrifice.

One of the most awesome verses of scripture to me is found in the letter of Paul to the Church in Philipi:

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” – Philippians 2:5-8

Jesus laid aside His Glory and embraced humility. He turned away from the endless worship of the seraphim and the cherubim and stepped into the womb of a simple Jewish girl. He took the Crown off of his head and lowered himself to enter our suffocating world of filth.

We already know the story. He was born into a poor family, raised in a small village called Nazareth, and at roughly the age of 33 left his home to spend three years as a travelling Rabbi, proclaiming the Good News that every man, woman and child on Earth could freely enter the Kingdom of God.

Surrounded by a ragtag group of common fishermen, tax collectors, and misfits, Jesus touched the untouchable. He showed kindness to the leper, he showed mercy to the prostitute, he showed love to the Gentiles and Samaritans. He angered the religious leaders of the day and confounded their expectations of what Messiah should be.

At his crucifixion, the roman soldiers fashioned a new crown for him to wear.

“They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said.” – Matthew 27:28-29

Here, the One who had created all things allowed Himself to be broken in our place. Even though He had all power and authority at His command, He humbled Himself, as if to say, “I will not use my authority to abuse you. In fact, I will surrender my power and allow you the authority to abuse me.”

And abuse Him we did. Through mock trials and repeated scourging, through grueling,dehumanizing violence, through ruthless and cruel torture, we did our worst to Him and yet His only response was, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.”

As Spurgeon has aptly noted:
“If they had only intended to mock him they might have platted a crown of straw, but they meant to pain him, and therefore they fashioned a crown of thorns. Look I pray you, at His person as He suffers under their hands. They had scourged him till probably there was no part of his body which was not bleeding beneath their blows, except his head, and now that head must be made to suffer too…There was no part of our humanity without sin, and there must be no part of his humanity without suffering.” – Charles H. Spurgeon, “Spurgeon’s Sermons on the Cross of Christ.”

As Jesus laid aside his crown of Glory in Eternity to embrace a cruel crown of thorns upon the cross, He did so for our sake. Out of a well of love so deep that no mortal man can ever fully understand, the creator of all things humbled Himself unto death and submitted Himself to us. How can we not submit ourselves to One like this?

Because of this exchange – the crown of Glory for the crown of thorns, you and I are eligible to receive a crown of our own.

“In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing." (2 Timothy 4:8)

"Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." (James 1:12)

"And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory." (1 Peter 5:4)

How amazing is this? God Himself humiliated and broken, wearing a crown of shame so that you and I could inherit a crown of life, a crown of righteousness, a crown of glory. It’s scandalous in the extreme. Something so audacious that if a mortal man should suggest it we would call it blasphemous and shameful, and yet this is God’s plan. It is His idea to lower Himself and remove His crown in order to give us crowns.

This is why, at the end of time, when the saints are gathered into His awesome, beautiful presence, and we behold the Lamb of God who was slain, and our eyes linger on the scars with which he bought us, we will take these crowns from off of our heads, and we will lay them at the feet of the Glorious Son of God who has loved us so dearly and so deeply. We will lay billions and billions of crowns at his nail-scarred feet and in sincere adoration we will proclaim that Jesus is Lord of all, to the Glory of God, the Father.

And this, I believe, is why the scriptures say that He will wipe away every tear from our eyes.

"‘I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown." – Jesus, from Revelation 3:11

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.



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