The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ 4.
THE CROWNING WITH THORNS
“And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in a purple robe; they came up to him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again, and said to them, ‘Behold, I am bringing him out to you, that you may know that I find no crime in him.’ So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Here is the man!’ (Jn 15: 2-5).”
As if his brutal scourging on the part of the Roman soldiers were not enough, Jesus was taken as a neurotic fool who claims to be a king. He was mockingly donned with a purple robe and was shamelessly struck on the face as if he had done something to merit their ferocity and cruelty.
Worse even and with the idea to ridicule him, Jesus was sadistically crowned with thorns. “Crowning with thorns was not an official part of the punishment; it was an initiative of the soldiers themselves, a product of their cruelty and desire to mock Jesus. On the stone pavement in the Antonia tower some drawings have been found which must have been used in what was called the “king game”: dice were thrown to pick out a mock king among those condemned, who was subjected to taunting before being led off for crucifixion (Navarre Bible Commentary to Jn 15:1-3).”
- They fabricated a crown-helmet perhaps using the flexible stems of a plant called Poterium spinosum or another plant, the tree—the Zizyphus spina Christi: both have very long thorns, much longer than those of acacia. The Shroud of Turin shows 33 wounds in Our Lord’s scalp, which doctors well know, bleed profusely, around 330 ml or 10-12% of the total human blood volume, apart from the blood he lost in the hematohidrosis and the scourging.
- After being crowned, the Gospels record how the soldiers hammered the crown-helmet into Our Lord’s head so that it would fit snugly and continued to receive blows to the head, actions which would have driven these thorns deeply into the highly vascularized scalp and forehead thereby producing excessive bleeding. Each blow would have caused Our Lord a painful silent scream and a shudder towards his curved spine.
- The comedy…parody of the adoration has begun: soldiers kneeling before Jesus…more blows, spits on his face, bruises, insults…when will they stop?
Despised and humiliated, he was presented to the infuriated people by Pilate: “Ecce homo” Behold, the man! Pilate was trying to pacify the wrath of the multitude by showing them that Jesus had suffered sufficiently and reiterated that he found no crime in him with the implicit intention to let him go.
“His ignominy has blotted out ours, his bonds have set us free, his crown of thorns has won for us the crown of the Kingdom, his wounds have cured us” (St. Jerome, Comm. in Marcum, in loc.).
“You and I…, haven’t we crowned him anew with thorns and struck him and spat on him?…Never again Jesus…never again (St. Holy Rosary, third sorrowful mystery).”
PHOTO SOURCE: Anthony van Dyck, “The Crowning with Thorns” in https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4c/Anthony_van_Dyck_-_Crowning_with_Thorns_-_WGA07433.jpg/426px-Anthony_van_Dyck_-_Crowning_with_Thorns_-_WGA07433.jpg
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