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Right before his crucifixion, Jesus was made to carry his cross and to wear a crown of thorns. Why was he made to wear the crown of thorns?

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up vote 24 down vote accepted

He was being mocked for claiming that he was King of the Jews, so the soliders gave him a "crown." And to make it worse, they made it of thorns, so it was extremely painful.

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I recently heard a remarkable interpretation of the symbolic significance. The crown of thorns needs to be viewed in a Roman military context: from Wikipedia:

The grass crown (Latin: corona obsidionalis or corona graminea), was the highest and rarest of all military decorations. It was presented only to a general or commander who broke the blockade of a beleaguered Roman Army.

It's important to note that "it was presented to the general by the army he had saved".

Since the Roman company of soldiers mockingly presented this to Jesus, they unknowingly declared that he has saved them.

Pliny wrote about the grass crown:

(…), but as for the crown of grass, it was never conferred except at a crisis of extreme desperation, never voted except by the acclamation of the whole army, and never to any one but to him who had been its preserver. Other crowns were awarded by the generals to the soldiers, this alone by the soldiers, and to the general. This crown is known also as the “obsidional” crown, from the circumstance of a beleaguered army being delivered, and so preserved from fearful disaster. If we are to regard as a glorious and a hallowed reward the civic crown, presented for preserving the life of a single citizen, and him, perhaps, of the very humblest rank, what, pray, ought to be thought of a whole army being saved, and indebted for its preservation to the valour of a single individual?

The crown of thorns can be viewed as a grass crown in that: (a) the whole company presented it to Jesus, same as the whole army presenting a grass crown, and (b) it's the only award that can be given by the soldiers to the commander.

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Welcome! This is quite interesting, indeed. Still, this answer would be stronger if you showed that some Christians understand the crown of thorns this way. I hope you'll take a minute to take the tour and learn how this site is different from others. – Nathaniel Dec 8 '15 at 15:43
    
Since there are multiple significances to the crown of thorns, and no single answer need list all possibilities, perhaps this question/answer should be a community wiki? I can say that this Christian, now that ne has read it, will in the future always consider this facet when meditating on the mysteries of the crucifixion. – Marc L. Dec 8 '15 at 21:08

Important to note is the fact that when the Angel of the Lord(possibly Jesus Himself)and supplied a ram that was stuck in a thorn bush is reminder not only of the everlasting covenant given to Abraham but was through this lineage that Jesus was born. Take note,as Isaac was a type of Jesus being Abraham's only son,he also like Jesus CARRIED THE WOOD.Jesus carried the cross. So in essence the crown was the reminder of Him being that ULTIMATE SACRIFICIAL LAMB that Abraham sacrificed to God. Abraham at this time or after his offering to God had the vision as stated in Galations 3:8 that he was the first to receive the gospel. Wow! God is so clever. Bless you all as you gain momentum in a real hot pursuit after God's heart.

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Thank you for taking part in this SE. I appreciate your insight, knowledge, and passion. With that said, you have created a wonderful supporting comment to the question and other answers here. Unfortunately you placed your information in the form of an answer which really doesn't answer the question by itself. Please consider reading this as your become more familiar with the form of this SE: What Christianity.SE is and more importantly, what it isn't – The Freemason Jun 3 '15 at 14:09

As Ray asserted, the crown was mockingly placed on Him because Jesus was charged with the crime of being "the King of the Jews", while the Jews already had a king, at least according to the Romans.

There is, however, an important symbolism that is also present in this.

In Genesis 3, thorns and thistles are part of the curse of the first sin.

And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.

The prophet Isaiah specifically predicted that God would lay upon the Messiah the sin of the world.

Isaiah 53:6 says, "We all, like sheep, have gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way, and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."

Thus, as the soldier placed a crown of thorns on the head of Jesus, this actually symbolized the spiritual reality that God was placing upon Jesus the curse of sin.

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I think this is a good case of the literal (to mock him as "king" and bring him pain) and symbolic (thorns are a metaphor for sin) both being correct and valid answers! – mxyzplk Aug 31 '11 at 21:26
    
At first i was like "What? Why am i reading where thorns came from?". Then i read the punchline. +1 – DForck42 Aug 31 '11 at 21:27

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