Many of us understand the concept of a thorn.  Most of the time, we think of a sharp part of a plant or tree, like a rose, that makes things difficult in dealing with them.  They hurt, and anyone who has lived near thorned plants has bled a time or three. 

They are so prevalent that they have permeated our consciousness, and they represent something that keeps us from making progress quickly or hinder us from moving forward easily.  Thus the comment, “It’s a thorn in my side”.  Sometimes it’s even directed at a person.

In the Christian faith we have an example of what a thorn can mean from two different angles.  One is the example above.  The apostle Paul talked about praying for God to remove the thorn from his side.  He refers to it as something that is there to keep him from being too prideful, and it’s something that he has prayed repeatedly for God to remove it from Him.  In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 we see him do just that.  There is a lesson that we all can relate to in that passage.

But on this day of days.  There is another way to see thorns.  When Jesus was standing accused, he was beaten and punished severely.  The soldiers that kept guard over him, ridiculed his divinity and his royalty.  They created a crown, one they thought was a mocking and empty crown in Matthew 27:27-31.  But this set of thorns is exactly what we who profess in a saviour understand as his purpose and sacrifice.  With dignity, and even majesty, in the face of abject torture, humiliation, and the eventual death in a horrific public display, Christ wore the crown of thorns like the King we all needed.  He wore the crown we would never wear ourselves.

Thorns represent those things that keep us from easily moving forward, growing, developing, or being.  Thorns also represent the sacrifice that we are called to daily.

Which thorn do you identify with?  A thorn in your side, or the glorious thorns upon our brow.  We on this Good good Friday, are called to identify with Christ’s suffering.  Could you wear the indignity and shame with submissive authority and grace?  I am much more familiar with the hinderance instead of the symbol of sacrifice.