Lord, Lord, wake us and show us Your crown of thorns. Amen.
Text: John 19:4–7
Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I ﬁnd no fault in Him.” Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!” Therefore, when the chief priests and ofﬁcers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “You take Him and crucify Him, for I ﬁnd no fault in Him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.”
“Behold the Man!” Pilate says, and presents God’s Son as most miserable, most wretched, and most mistreated, so that they should either despise Him or have pity on Him. “And He Himself, the Holy One, whom I worship, whose feet I would embrace and kiss as I say this, I a poor sinner worthy of condemnation, — He Himself stands there covered with blood, full of tears, full of disgrace, a mockery before all men, a spectacle that angels hide their faces from, a King, more humbled than one should think possible, and yet He ﬁnds no sympathy” (Löhe). “Behold the Man!” Look at Him, all who are human, and see what man has become. This is what has become of Adam and his children. They were supposed to have ruled over the earth with pure blessing, but they have put thorns of the curse on their own head. They were created for glory, but they have lost God’s glory and have sunk down into shame. They should have loved one another and been the express image of love, but here in the piercing crown of thorns you see the condition of their heart. In the spit-upon face, and the scourged bloody body, see the condition of their soul! So fallen man is a servant of Satan and must end up in ﬁre and brimstone if he is not born again. Then all the devils will mock him and say: Behold the man, who was created in God’s image, as king of creation and judge of spirits! What has become of his heavenly crown? And he will feel the curse of God as thorns throughout his soul and be down-trodden in eternal shame.
But all this misery Jesus has now taken on Himself, so that we can be saved from it by faith in Him. Now see the Man who receives His deserved punishment, complete and full. Not a drop of sympathy is poured into the cup. See it, heaven and earth and hell, and tell me now if the Man has not perfectly willingly, perfectly silently, and patiently paid for the offense of taking for Himself God’s own ruling crown. And look at Him, you poor sinners, when you are troubled over the pride that clings to your hearts. Look to Him and be conﬁdent against the accuser. Look to Him and receive grace to be humble in your innermost heart!
O grant us Your Holy Spirit for this, Lord Jesus, and reign over us from Your seat of glory. Here is my sinful, poor, wicked heart. Take it and rule in it, and rule over all that I am and all that I have. O that I may be obedient to You, and rejoice in walking on the path of suffering after You! Dear Lord Jesus, give me this grace, we pray You from our whole heart. Amen.
Lord Jesus, to our hearts so dear,
Who freed us all from Satan’s fear!
Thou camest as the spotless Lamb
To bear our sinful guilt and shame.
Now by Thy death upon the cross,
Thou saved us from eternal loss.
I thank Thee from my inmost heart
For all Thy pains of ev’ry sort,
I pray most humbly unto Thee
That Thou my sins forgivest me,
For which, O Jesus, Thou hast died,
Betrayed, and scourged, and cruciﬁed.
Thy bloody back, the crown of thorns,
Yea, spit of shame Thy face adorns.
Thy heavy cross, Thy harshest death,
Bring comfort in my rightful death;
True medicine Thy Passion gives
That all my sinful sores relieves.
Danish/Jonæsøn: O Hjertekjære Jesu Krist L 337:2.4 tr. DeGarmeaux;
tune: Melita (ELH 418); alternate hymn: Jesus I will never leave ELH 362:1-2