Thorns to Crowns through the Crown of Thorns

Thorns to Crowns through the Crown of Thorns

I love the story of scripture, we started in the garden and to the garden we’ll return. This beautiful story can be broken down into four acts: Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration.

Creation – Genesis 1

In the beginning God created the whole world and everything in it. Everything he made was good. Yet something was missing, so He created us. Man and woman, He created us. We were made in His image and as an extension of His kingship. (Genesis 1) While we were created out of the earth to rule and steward creation, but soon temptation came.

The Fall – Genesis 3

Living in the garden and under the Tree of Life, temptation came through the serpent and the first sin appeared, the sin to be like God. By taking that bite of fruit from the tree of life, we became separated from life and were cursed with thorns and death instead. (Genesis 3:17-24)

“Cursed is the ground because of you;

    through painful toil you will eat food from it

    all the days of your life.

18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,

    and you will eat the plants of the field.

Genesis 3:17-18

What a sad moment for humans, worse than being cursed by a life of thorns is the separation of intimacy with God. Glory be that the story doesn’t end with our exile from the garden. God had a plan for our redemption and a way for us to come back to Him. It’d take many more acts of rebellion, several more exiles, and days upon days of curses – but finally the long-awaited Savior, Israel’s Messiah, arrived. This suffering servant (Isaiah 52:13-53) came announcing the coming Kingdom (Mark 1:15)

Redemption – Colossians 1:15-23

What a confusing King he is, riding into town on lowly donkey (Zechariah 9:9, Matthew 21:1-7). This is the one who is supposed to rule to the ends of the earth (Zech 9:10), set the captives free (Isaiah 61:1) and bring redemption and healing to all the nations (Isaiah 49:3-13)? In a surprising twist, the thorns we were cursed with were instead placed on the head of King Jesus, who by dying on the cross brought the Kingdom of God and made a way for us to be rulers and wearers of crowns again (Revelation 1:5-6).

and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

Revelation 1:5-6

In short, the kingdom and the cross are held together by Christ, Israel’s messiah who brings God’s reign on earth through his atoning death on the cross. The kingdom is the ultimate goal of the cross and the cross is the means by which the kingdom comes.

Jeremy Treat, The Crucified King: Atonement and Kingdom in Biblical and Systemic Theology, pg 247

Our first sin was caused by us seeking power. Seeking wisdom. Believing the lie that we should know everything God knows. Therefore, God sent His Son to fight against the wisdom and powers of this world. Those who rely on their own power, knowledge, and understanding will never be able to understand and be welcomed into the Kingdom of God. For it’s a message of foolishness, a message to throw off all claims of human standards of success and position. (1 Corinthians 1:18-31).

Paul called us to be imitators of Christ (Philippians 2:5-11). This means imitating His humility, “rather he made himself nothing, by taking the very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:7).

We live in a time and place where culture promotes self-absorption. Where success is seen as more prestige, more money, more awards, white picket fences, and thousands of social media followers. Everything we do is crying out to be the center of attention. But when we’re busy building our own Kingdom, we can’t be busy building Christ’s. Let’s stop living by the wisdom of the world, let’s stop living to have a focus on me. Look out at others around you, look at those others don’t see, think of others as higher than yourself (Philippians 2:3-4). Put on your crown, claim your ruler-ship in the Kingdom and choose the narrow gate to life (Matthew 7:13-14).

Restoration – 1 Corinthians 15:35-58

We have been redeemed; we aren’t cursed by thorns for all of eternity any longer. The crown of thorns set us free on the cross. Now we can rightfully inherit the Kingdom and eternal life through the promise of resurrection. We are cast out from the Garden of Eden, but it will be restored and we will get to see the Tree of Life and live with God, experiencing total intimacy and worship of the one who created us and called us good. (Revelation 22:1-5).

down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.

Revelation 22:2-3

God’s been working through each of these categories and we are to live now as redeemed, looking ahead to eternal restoration. Keep eternity in mind and you’ll find it impacts how you live redeemed now.

Check out one of these books on the Kingdom of God to learn more

The Kingdom of God and the Glory of the Cross by Patrick Schreiner

Seek First: How the Kingdom of God Changes Everything by Jeremy Treat

The Crucified King: Atonement and Kingdom in Biblical and Systematic Theology by Jeremy Treat

Jesus the King by Timothy Keller

How God Became King by NT Wright

Apply this all to your life!

Even Better than Eden: 9 ways the Bible’s Story Changes Everything about Your Story by Nancy Guthrie

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