Jesus' Crown Of Thorns


It was the 15th of April in the year 2019, in Paris, France and a fire raged at the Notre Dame chapel. Prized relics were saved, including one called the crown of thorns. Preserved in a gilded, crystalline requiary, and once sold for a staggering 13,134 gold coins, it is considered one of Christianity’s most prized relics. 

However, rather than the monetary value, its true importance lies in what it represents for both Christians and mankind; the provision of salvation. This article aims to educate you on the origin, meaning, and significance of the symbol and relic known as the crown of thorns.

What Is The Crown Of Thorns?

It is a woven band of twigs from a thorny plant called the Juncus balticus.

There are other thorns preserved in reliquaries, but these are made from the Ziziphus spina-christi or jujube tree, a plant that grows up to a height of fifteen or twenty feet and can be found growing in abundance by the wayside around Jerusalem.

This crown gets its origin from Scripture of course. According to the Bible, it was placed on the head of Jesus by the Roman soldiers, along with a purple robe sometime before His crucifixion (John 19:2).

Before His crowning with thorns, Jesus had been arrested by the Jews. It was already His hour of crucifixion and so the plan for salvation had begun to play out. He was tried first of all before the religious court of the High Priest. They found nothing to condemn Him within His teachings, so they brought in false witnesses to bear untrue testimonies just to pin a charge on Him.

Jesus was asked if He was the Christ, and His response made the high priest tear their clothes, accuse Him of blasphemy and scream bloody murder.

The Jews didn’t have the authority to dole out capital punishments like death, so Jesus also had to be tried by the Romans. He was taken to the governor, Pontius Pilate, and tried there. Pilate found Him undeserving of death, but the Jews kept screaming that He had to die.

To appease them, Pilate had Jesus scourged and it was after this that the Soldiers placed the purple robe and the crown of thorns on Him, mocking His kingship. 

Some people believe that Jesus’ Crown of thorns was made from the date palm whose thorns grow up to twelve inches in length and are very hard. This would have not only injured Him but spread toxins through His body, causing a lot of pain, inflammation, and tissue damage. Coupled with the wounds and blood loss from the beating, Jesus Christ was in indescribable pain. 

In all this, He persevered, carrying His cross all the way to Golgotha, and was eventually crucified there.

What Does The Crown Of Thorns Symbolize?

Matthew 27:29 says,

“And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”

From this, we can clearly see that the soldiers meant the crown of thorns to be a sign of disrespect and mockery to Jesus and His kingdom. ‘He’s no king. How could a king be beaten up, spat upon, insulted, and tied like a common criminal?’ they thought. So they took a crown which is supposed to be a symbol of kingship and authority, made it out of something degrading like thorns, and put it on Jesus’ head to humiliate Him.

However, to Christians, this crown made out of thorns has a deeper and more glorious meaning. It was first a symbol of Christ’s humility for trading His crown of gold in heaven, for one of thorns for us.

It also symbolized who Jesus was and what His assignment on earth was proposed to be.

Back in Genesis, when Adam and Eve sinned by eating the forbidden fruit and brought a curse upon themselves and the rest of mankind, part of the curse said,

“… cursed is the ground because of you; in pain, you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you…” (Genesis 3:17-18).

We can see that it mentioned thorns and thistles. How amazing is it that this very thing that was supposed to bring us pain brought us our deliverance on the head of Jesus?

Galatians 3:13 explains it more clearly when it said, 

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”

It wasn’t a mistake that the soldiers chose to make the crown with thorns. It was symbolic of the fact that we would be set free from sin and suffering by Christ’s atoning and perfect sacrifice.

Furthermore, the crown of thorns also reminds us that Jesus is truly a King, and one day, everyone would bow before, and proclaim that He is the King of kings and Lord of Lords (Revelations 19:16).

The conflicting concepts of a royal crown and hard thorns were a pointer to Jesus’ two roles spoken of by the prophets long ago. One as the Messiah and Conquering King as portrayed in Revelations 19, and the other as a servant, the son of suffering portrayed in Isaiah 53.

His role as the son of suffering has been fulfilled and He has been crowned again in heaven, while He is seated at the right hand side of God the Father(Hebrews 2:9). Now we can eagerly await His manifestation on earth as the King of the Jews, King of Kings, and King of all nations in His second coming.

Crown Of Thorns In Today’s Christianity

Before the fire, the Notre Dame Chapel exhibited the crown only on the first Friday of every month during a special veneration Mass, as well as each Friday of Lent. Many Christians paid visits and still do so today to see this relic.

However, the physical thorn crown, though wonderful, should not be our main focus as Christians, but the meaning behind it. Our sins and suffering have been paid for by Jesus Christ and we must now live in this reality.

He is also coming back again, and we must prepare ourselves and the people around us by active soul-winning and quality discipline for the return of the King of kings.

Final Thoughts

Now you may ask, ‘where is the real crown of thorns today? Well after the Notre Dame Chapel was closed to the public due to the ruins from the fire, the relic was moved to the Louvre Museum in Paris, France where it sits to date.

You can schedule a short visit to the museum to fix your mind on the significance of what Christ did. You also get to see a real version of the crown as that was talked about within the pages of the Bible.