We once had thorny Pyracantha bushes ascending the walls on the front of our home. The berries were a beautiful bright red, partly due to the blood I left in pruning them.
Why did God give us thorns? They grab our legs when we hike through the woods. They draw blood when we weed the garden. They make the beauty of a rose unapproachable. What was God thinking when He gave us thorns?
I guess we should concede that thorns were not a part of His original design. God created man and woman and placed them in paradise – a perfect, self-managed garden teaming with fruit and vegetables from which they happily dined.
But Adam and Eve fell from grace by rejecting God’s plan for their lives. So, God imposed some painful consequences.
He said to Adam, “Because you obeyed your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ the ground is cursed because of you; in painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, but you will eat the grain of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat food until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you will return.” Genesis 3:17-18 NET Bible®
Adam was made to become a farmer and his nemesis would be thorns and thistles. God imposed them on Adam and Eve and all of us so that every time we prick our fingers or stab our foot with a thorn, we would think of our sin and its great cost.
Thorns can get buried in your skin. They also burrowed themselves into the biblical story.
Moses was chasing his sheep through the Sinai wilderness when he encountered God who appeared to him in a burning bush. Guess what! It was also a thorny bush! Luke wrote this for us in Acts 7:30, “And after forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning thorn bush.” – NASB
It was from a burning thorn bush that the Lord met Moses and called him to be the leader and liberator of God’s people. So why did God choose a thorn bush as His platform?
It was through Moses that God gave the us the law including the Ten Commandments. This law became a measuring stick to remind us that we fall short of God’s standards. And that was God’s intention according to Romans 3:20, “through the law comes the knowledge of sin.” NET Bible ®
Its kind of crazy. God imposed the penalty of thorns, and then later appeared amid them as if to say, “Sin is still a big problem.”
Fortunately, thorns continue to creep through the biblical story.
The prophet Isaiah described Jesus in this way. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isa 53:6 KJV
The Father laid on Him the cost of sin – the iniquity of us all – which was symbolized by the crown that was laid on His head.
“The soldiers braided a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they clothed him in a purple robe. They came up to him again and again and said, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they struck him repeatedly in the face.” – John 19:2-3 NET Bible®
The Roman soldiers mocked His claim to be King by weaving a clownish crown and forcing it into His head.
And of course, it was a crown of thorns. The original Greek word for this thorny wreath is “kanthai,” which seems to be the root word of the Pyrocantha plant that grew on my walls. Ironic I know!
Those sick soldiers didn’t realize it, but in crowning Christ with thorns, they would shout a Gospel message through the ages to come.
The curse of the thorns in Genesis 3, was placed on Jesus who removed it by His death on the cross for us, “and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Think on that when you weed your garden this Easter Season.
A PRAYER: Thank You Lord for bearing our thorns in your flesh.