Crowns have historically been the ultimate sign of power and authority. Only kings and queens get to legitimately wear legitimate crowns. The most valuable crown in the world these days is St. Edward’s Crown, which is the centerpiece of the United Kingdom’s Crown Jewels. This crown most famously symbolizes the monarchy of the United Kingdom, and as such was the one placed atop the head of Queen Elizabeth during her installment ceremony in 1953. The crown was crafted in 1691 and is worth an estimated $40 million based upon the value of the 444 gemstones that mark it. It weighs just under five pounds, a weight that makes it impractical to wear, and it is kept on public display in the Jewel House at the Tower of London when not in use.
How different such crowns are from the one worn by Jesus during His earthly life. His crown was a crown of thorns that was crudely fashioned in mock jest by a group of Roman soldiers (Matthew 27:29-31; Mark 15:16-20; John 19:1-3). J.D. Jones, in his commentary on Mark, says of this crown:
And then someone suggested that being a king He ought to have not simply a purple cloak upon His shoulders, but a crown upon His head. And so someone ran out and from the shrubs in the palace garden gathered a few twigs which he twisted into a wreath in derision imitation of that wreath of victory which the Roman Emperors wore on the days of their triumphal processions. That the twigs happened to carry on them sharp and jagged thorns only added to the humor of the situation. This crown of thorns they pressed upon the Lord’s meek brow.
Other than the spike-like nails that were driven into Christ’s hands and feet to secure Him to His cross, nothing more graphically symbolizes the brutal horror of His death than the crown of thorns. How typical it was of the fallen, depraved human race for those soldiers to gleefully “coronate” Jesus by way of such a crown. When Adam had taken himself and all his descendants down into sin, God had told him, “Cursed is the ground because of you. Thorns and thistles it will produce for you” (Genesis 3:17-18). Therefore, it made perfect sense that some of Adam’s cursed descendants would use some of those cursed thorns to make open sport of Jesus, who was soon to become a curse Himself so that Adam’s race might have the opportunity to be set free from the curse of sin/the law (Galatians 3:13). It was all so perfectly ironic somehow.
Thankfully, Jesus would not remain a curse, and His death on the cross would be a comma rather than a period in His story. On the third day after His death, He would arise and thus become the Savior who lives forevermore. Even more than that, He is the King of Kings who will reign for all eternity. Such an ultimate King, of course, must wear the ultimate symbols of authority, and so it should come as no surprise to us to learn that when Jesus returns in power and glory to judge this earth and reign over it for 1,000 years, He will have on His head “many crowns” (Revelation 19:12). The Bible doesn’t specify what these crowns will look like, but let’s just say that each one will decrease the value of St. Edward’s crown and all the other crowns of this world to the value of a prize in a Cracker Jack box.
But let us never forget that Jesus first wore His crown of thorns. He wore it as part of the final hours of His earthly life, a life that He willingly sacrificed so that all our sins could be forgiven by holy God. So, with that in mind, I ask you, “Have you truly placed your belief in Jesus as your personal Savior?” If you have, then you have the right to consider yourself not only fully forgiven but also part of eternity’s royal family. That means that even if you have to temporarily endure a crown of thorns in this life, you won’t have to do so in eternity. This is one of the grandest promises associated with being a Christian, and it’s one that can help the Christian get through the tough times that life on earth can bring.