Summary: A sermon on how we place the crown of thorns deeper into Christ’s brow (Adapted from Ross Fransisco; I believe he got his ideas from Ivan Hagedorn)
Sermon for 4/2/2006
The Crown of Thorns
The city was Jerusalem. The time was long ago. The people called him Jesus. His crime was just the love he showed. I’m the one to blame for I caused all his pain. He gave himself the day he wore my crown.
A. From the Bible readings this last week, we read: (Mat 27:29 NIV) 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.
B. In this section we have the Roman soldiers mocking Jesus and taunting him as King of the Jews. This is what the Romans would do with those who were to be executed as the leaders of their enemies.
C. The Roman soldiers would mock the victim by putting a crown of thorns on his head. A Roman emperor or a conquering Roman general would wear a wreath on his head. But the wreath, crown that was placed on Jesus’ head was not in honor of a victory. The wreath was not pleasant to wear, it had sharp thorns that would pierce deep into the temples and plant onto the skull of its victim. With hands tied, the Sufferer was unable to ease the pain by applying a softening touch to where the thorns gouged the head.
D. This crown was placed on Jesus after he was scourged or flogged. There would have been blood running down his head and back at this time. We cannot even imagine the agony of his body and also the agony of his heart that he was feeling at this time.
E. The church is the body of Christ. We remember Saul of Tarsus was stopped at midday on his march toward Damascus by a voice, saying: "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Saul’s hand was lifted in violence against those who carried the name of Jesus Christ. So when that day he fell to the earth and the question probed his soul, he replied with another question: "Who are you, Lord?" The answer came back: "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,"
F. When someone persecutes the church they are also persecuting Jesus Christ.
H. Christ is the head of the church and we are Christ’s body, his hands and feet on this earth. Whenever the crown of thorns presses down upon Christ’s brow, it weighs upon and pierces His church. Whenever someone weighs the church down, hinders the church in progress, makes the church look bad in public, this can be described as the crown of thorns placed into Christ’s head. It is a shame that most of this is done by the members of Christ’s body. This is what makes it all so terrible.
Thesis: This morning let us consider some of the ways in which people still plant a crown of thorns into Christ’s head.
1. Those who are absent.
A. In WW2, those who worked in plants making things for the war, absenteeism was considered a crime. All who were guilty were spoken of as saboteurs, who interfered with production and prolonged the conflict. Is absenteeism to be counted as any less of a crime in the church?
B. The day of worship and the place of worship should mean much to the Christian, for they mean much to Christ.
C. (Heb 10:25 NIV) Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.
D. How easily we excuse ourselves from absence from church worship! The sad part of this is that we have 3 regular meeting times during the week.
E. The poet Wordsworth was right when he said: “The world is too much for us.” As the burdens grow heavier, and the sorrows deepen, it is foolishness to abandon our interest in things that help to lighten our worries and burdens.
F. (Psa 46:10 NIV) "Be still, and know that I am God."
G. Also, we need each other. In every act of churchgoing, each one of us has something to receive and something to give. Not here to receive and not here to give, what a shame!
H. A wise man once said, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I ought to do; and by the grace of God, I will do.”
I. Ross Francisco- I have a fine elderly lady in my congregation. One day, we were talking about the people who so easily absent themselves from the worship services. She turned to me, and said, “Preacher, I guess I have a strange kind of sickness. All through the week I suffer from aches and pains, but when Sunday comes around it seems as though they are gone, and I go to church. Most people wait until Sunday to notice all of their aches and pains, and find them sufficient for absence from the church.