This post was written by my dad, who is 84 years old – or as he would emphasize – he is almost 85.
Question: Why did Christ wear a crown of thorns at Calvary?
The soldiers of the governor that platted the crown of thorns and pressed it into Christ’s head did so to mock Him. They did not realize that the God of the universe allowed this crown of thorns as a symbol.
When God cursed the ground in Genesis 3:17 after Adam and Eve sinned, He said that as result thorns shall it bring forth to thee. The thorn is the very symbol of sin. In the coming thousand year reign of Christ upon the earth, we learn in Isaiah 55:13 that instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree. In the age when the righteous King, our Lord Jesus Christ, rules over the earth the thorn shall no longer be found upon this planet.
Before our Lord was crucified at Calvary, they crowned Him with a crown of thorns (Matthew 27:29). He wore, upon His head, the very symbol of sin. The word for “crown” in the crown of thorns is the Greek word stef-an-os, not diadema. The solders intended that this crown of thorns would be the royal crown, the diadema, for they bowed the knee before Him and mocked him, saying Hail, King of the Jews!
But God the Holy Spirit, who gave us the Bible, made sure that the Greek word was Stef-an-os, the victor’s crown. Stef-an-os indicates the victor’s crown, a prize in the public games or a symbol of honor. Our Lord was victorious over sin at Calvary (II Cor. 5:21) for He hath made Him to be sin for us; who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
The crown of thorns that Christ wore at Calvary was the crown of sin and our Lord paid the price for sin with the giving of His life and the crown He wore at the cross was the crown of victory. The soldiers that platted the crown of thorns and pressed it upon His head intended it to be the diadema, the royal crown of a king. They did not realize that they had crowned the Man of Calvary as victor over sin and death and the grave.
Both Isaiah 53:12 and Hebrews 9:28 tell us that Christ was once offered to bear the sin or sins of many. Thus we who know Christ as Savior are viewed as the righteousness of God in the Lord Jesus Christ because He paid the penalty for our sin at the cross. When He comes again in His second coming, Revelation 19:12, He will be crowned with many crowns, which are the royal crowns of the diadema of the King.
For further thoughts about whether the cross was defeat or VICTORY – see this excerpt from John Stott.