And platted a crown of thorns - In the note on Matthew 27:29; (note), I have ventured to express a doubt whether our Lord was crowned with thorns, in our sense of the word; this crown being designed as an instrument of torture. I am still of the same opinion, having considered the subject more closely since writing that note. As there I have referred to Bishop Pearce, a man whose merit as a commentator is far beyond my praise, and who, it is to be regretted, did not complete his work on the New Testament, I think it right to insert the whole of his note here.
"The word ακανθων may as well be the plural genitive case of the word ακανθος as of ακανθη : if of the latter, it is rightly translated, of thorns; but the former would signify what we call bear's-foot, and the French, branche ursine. This is not of the thorny kind of plants, but is soft and smooth. Virgil calls it mollis acanthus, Ecl. iii. 45, Geor. iv. 137. So does Pliny, sec. Epist. ver. 6. And Pliny the elder, in his Nat. Hist. xxii. 22, p. 277, edit. Hard., says that it is laevis, smooth; and that it is one of those plants that are cultivated in gardens. I have somewhere read, but cannot at present recollect where, that this soft and smooth herb was very common in and about Jerusalem. I find nothing in the New Testament said concerning this crown, which Pilate's soldiers put on the head of Jesus, to incline one to think that it was of thorns, and intended, as is usually supposed, to put him to pain. The reed put into his hand, and the scarlet robe on his back, were only meant as marks of mockery and contempt. One may also reasonably judge, by the soldiers being said to plat this crown, that it was not composed of such twigs and leaves as were of a thorny nature. I do not find that it is mentioned by any of the primitive Christian writers as an instance of the cruelty used towards our Savior, before he was led to his crucifixion, till the time of Tertullian, who lived after Jesus's death at the distance of above 160 years. He indeed seems to have understood ακανθων in the sense of thorns, and says, De Corona Militar. sect. xiv. edit. Pamel. Franck. 1597, Quale, oro te, Jesus Christus sertum pro utroque sexu subiit? Ex spinis, opinor, et tribulis. The total silence of Polycarp, Barnabas, Clem. Romanus, and all the other Christian writers whose works are now extant, and who wrote before Tertullian, in particular, will give some weight to incline one to think that this crown was not platted with thorns. But as this is a point on which we have not sufficient evidence, I leave it almost in the same state of uncertainty in which I found it. The reader may see a satisfactory account of acanthus, bear's-foot, in Quincy's English Dispensatory, part ii. sect. 3, edit. 8, 1742."
This is the whole of the learned and judicious prelate's note; on which I have only to observed that the species of acanthus described by Virgil and the two Plinys, as mollis and laevis, soft and smooth, is, no doubt, the same as that formerly used in medicine, and described by Quincy and other pharmacopaeists; but there are other species of the same plant that are prickly, and particularly those called the acanthus spinosus, and the ilicifolius, the latter of which is common in both the Indies: this has leaves something like our common holly, the jagged edges of which are armed with prickles; but I do not conceive that this kind was used, nor indeed any other plant of a thorny nature, as the Roman soldiers who platted the crown could have no interest in adding to our Lord's sufferings; though they smote him with the rod, yet their chief object was to render him ridiculous, for pretending, as they imagined, to regal authority. The common wild acanthas or bear's-foot, which I have often met in the dry turf bogs in Ireland, though it have the appearance of being prickly, yet is not, in fact, so. Several shoots grow from one root, about four or five inches long, and about as thick as a little finger. A parcel of such branches, platted by their roots in a string, night be made to look even ornamental, tied about the temples and round the head. It would finely imitate a crown or diadem. But I know not if this plant be a native of Judea.
Christ will come in His own glory, in the glory of His Father, and in the glory of the holy angels. Ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of angels, the beautiful, triumphant sons of God, possessing surpassing loveliness and glory, will escort Him on His way. In the place of a crown of thorns, He will wear a crown of glory—a crown within a crown. In the place of that old purple robe, He will be clothed in a garment of whitest white, “so as no fuller on earth can white” (Mark 9:3) it. And on His vesture and on His thigh a name will be written, “King of kings, and Lord of lords.” Revelation 19:16.... OHC 367.3Read in context »
I saw how little the pattern was studied. How little exalted before them. How little do the young suffer, or deny self, for their religion. To sacrifice is scarcely thought of among them. They entirely fail of imitating the pattern in this respect. I saw that this was the language of their lives, Self must be gratified, pride must be indulged. They forget the Man of sorrows, who was acquainted with grief. The sufferings of Jesus in Gethsemane, his sweating as it were great drops of blood in the garden, the platted crown of thorns that pierced his holy brow, do not move them. They have become benumbed. Their sensibilities are blunted, and they have lost all sense of the great sacrifice made for them. They can sit and listen to the story of the cross, the cruel nails that were driven through the hands and feet of the Son of God. It does not stir the depths of the soul. 2SG 252.1
Said the angel, “If such should be ushered into the city of God, and told that all its rich beauty and glory was theirs to enjoy eternally, they would have no sense of how dearly that inheritance was purchased for them. They would never realize the matchless depths of a Saviour's love. They have not drank of the cup, nor been baptized with the baptism. Heaven would be marred if such should dwell there. Those only who have partaken of the sufferings of the Son of God, and have come up through great tribulation, have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, can enjoy the indescribable glory and unsurpassed beauty of heaven.” 2SG 252.2
The want of this necessary preparation will shut out the greatest portion of the young professors, for they will not labor earnestly and zealously enough to obtain that rest that remains for the people of God. They will not honestly confess their sins, that they may be pardoned and blotted out. These sins in a short time will be revealed in just their enormity. God's eye does not slumber. He knows every sin that is hidden from mortal eye. The guilty know just what sins to confess, that their souls may be clean before God. 2SG 253.1Read in context »
Could some be placed back ten or twelve years, and labor through the discouragements that then existed, they would find a great change in the labor now, compared with what it was then. Then the friends of the cause were few, their means limited, and it was a constant battle against error and fanaticism. Privation and want were then endured by God's servants without murmuring. I have had more fears for our preachers now than ever before. A laborer in the gospel field, will feel a burden for souls if he fills the place God designs him to fill. He will labor in the desk, and out of it. While at the fireside he will enter into the feelings of those who have listened to solemn, important truth from his lips. He will watch for souls as one that must give an account. 2SG 286.1
Sabbath-keepers, remember that the outside appearance is an index to the heart, and while you are so anxious to imitate the fashions of the world; while your heart is in these things, you are like them, you have their spirit, and have lost the truth out of your heart. While you study your appearance to look as near like the world as possible, remember your Redeemer. Upon his head was a crown of thorns. The greatest concern some Sabbath-keepers have is their outward appearance. They are fostering pride, and will perish with their pride unless they entirely reform. Many make vain excuses for wearing hoops. They cannot endure the idea of being peculiar. I saw that Sabbath-keepers should not give the least influence to a fashion carried to such a ridiculous length. 2SG 286.2
But while some are following the fashion, and manifest so much pride about their appearance, some others take the other extreme, and dress odd and slack, and destroy the influence they might have with unbelievers. Some hold themselves in a position to watch the dress of others, and find fault with every article they think not just right. If a sister is dressed orderly, and taste is manifested in her dress, the trial is raised, the sister is proud. I saw that some are withering spiritually. They have been watching for every fault to make trouble with. They neglect their own souls. They seldom see or feel their own faults, for they have had all they could do to watch the faults of others. A dress, a bonnet, an apron, takes their attention; they must talk with this one, and that one about the matter, and it is sufficient for them to dwell upon for weeks. All the religion a few poor souls have, is to watch the garments and acts of others, and find fault with them. Unless they reform, there will be no place in heaven for them, for with this spirit they would find fault with Jesus and angels. 2SG 287.1Read in context »
The only begotten Son of God consented to leave the heavenly courts and come to our world to live with an ungrateful people who refused His gracious mercies. He consented to live a life of poverty, and to endure suffering and temptation. He became a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And the Word declares, “We hid as it were our faces from him” (Isaiah 53:3). Of His own disciples, Peter, denied Him, and Judas betrayed Him. The people whom He came to bless rejected Him. They put Him to shame and caused Him untold suffering. They placed upon His head a crown of thorns that pierced His holy temples. They beat Him with a scourge, and then they nailed Him to the cross. Yet amid it all, no word of complaint escaped His lips.... TDG 216.4Read in context »
The angels as they left heaven, in sadness laid off their glittering crowns. They could not wear them while their Commander was suffering and was to wear a crown of thorns. Satan and his angels were busy in the judgment hall to destroy human feeling and sympathy. The very atmosphere was heavy and polluted by their influence. The chief priests and elders were inspired by them to insult and abuse Jesus in a manner the most difficult for human nature to bear. Satan hoped that such mockery and violence would call forth from the Son of God some complaint or murmur; or that He would manifest His divine power, and wrench Himself from the grasp of the multitude, and that thus the plan of salvation might at last fail. EW 169.1
Peter followed his Lord after His betrayal. He was anxious to see what would be done with Jesus. But when he was accused of being one of His disciples, fear for his own safety led him to declare that he knew not the man. The disciples were noted for the purity of their language, and Peter, to convince his accusers that he was not one of Christ's disciples, denied the charge the third time with cursing and swearing. Jesus, who was at some distance from Peter, turned a sorrowful reproving gaze upon him. Then the disciple remembered the words which Jesus had spoken to him in the upper chamber, and also his own zealous assertion, “Though all men shall be offended because of Thee, yet will I never be offended.” He had denied his Lord, even with cursing and swearing; but that look of Jesus’ melted Peter's heart and saved him. He wept bitterly and repented of his great sin, and was converted, and then was prepared to strengthen his brethren. EW 169.2Read in context »
The love of God was Christ's theme when speaking of His mission and His work. “Therefore doth my Father love me,” He says, “because I lay down my life, that I might take it again” (John 10:17). My Father loves you with a love so unbounded that He loves Me the more because I have given My life to redeem you. He loves you, and He loves Me more because I love you, and give My life for you.... Well did the disciples understand this love as they saw their Saviour enduring shame, reproach, doubt, and betrayal, as they saw His agony in the Garden, and His death on Calvary's cross. This is a love the depth of which no sounding can ever fathom. As the disciples comprehended it, as their perception took hold of God's divine compassion, they realized that there is a sense in which the sufferings of the Son were the sufferings of the Father.... TMK 69.2Read in context »