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About that Crown of Thorns  

As carefully as I could, I maneuvered backward a bit…then a bit more.  Just a t-e-e-n-y bit more.  (I was peering through a camera monitor).

The idea was to capture a video clip of my friend, Dr. Charlie Dyer, promoting an upcoming trip to Israel.  Standing on the Mount of Olives, the view of the Old City of Jerusalem offered the quintessential backdrop.

Framing the shot, I needed to step back to make sure enough of the fabulous city walls were in view.  Easier said than done, because of all the tourists.

And then it happened.  Something very sharp and very painful jabbed at my elbow.  It was a thorn.  But not like the thorns I knew as a kid. 

In the backyard of our home grew a rose bush which seemed to me far more adept at snatching our baseballs then sprouting blooms. The length of a rose bush thorn is about a quarter of an inch, not much more. And for years, that’s how I envisioned Christ’s crown.

But the thorn that I backed into on the Mount of Olives was easily two inches long.  It was tough—like a nail.  I know, because I nearly stabbed myself trying to pluck it off the stem and take it home as a souvenir.

When the Bible speaks of a crown of thorns, it almost certainly refers to the thing that jabbed me. Meaning, that crown would have felt more like nails than thorns. 

Archaeological finds at ancient Roman crucifixion sites now prove the point. Recovered skulls show extensive fractures from the very type of thorns that jabbed my elbow. 

My purpose here is not to disgust you, but to engage you. Because the Easter story is so familiar to many of us, it can feel more like a faded postcard than a real-life drama.

But it was real.  The chains, the whip, the nails, the cross—and that hideous crown—all real.   The only question is whether or not our gratitude is real. 

It's easy to let the Easter story remain a flat and faded relic of history.  But we must not.  We dare not.   God forbid our sense of gratitude be one whit less than the pain Christ felt at the point of the thorns and nails!


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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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