Behold The Man

This article was written by guest writer Peter Assad and originally published on poemsofgrace.com. For more from Peter and Grace, visit their website.

pc: Grace Assad

A crown can tell you a lot about a person.


Are they a winner?

Are they royalty?

Are they a princess (or just want everyone to treat them as if they are)?


As a kid, crowns captured my attention. Maybe that explains why I thought of Burger King as fine dining (but that's another story for another day).


The Scriptures also seem to dazzle us with all kinds of crowns.


Crowns like: - the "crown of glory" in 1 Peter 5 (reserved for pastors/leaders who serve well)

- the "crown of life" in James 1 (for those who endure suffering well)

- or the "crown of righteousness" in 2 Timothy 4 (promised to every person through all of time who loves Jesus)


But of all the many types of crowns mentioned throughout the Bible, there is one only crown—a negative crown—that’s described for us in John 19:5.


Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to the crowd, “Behold the man!”

The one mention of a negative crown through all the Bible was the crown of thorns Jesus chose to wear for you, for me, for us.

The one mention of a negative crown through all the Bible was the crown of thorns Jesus chose to wear for us.

And standing there—with that crown of thorns pressed down into his skull, as he was preparing to make his way down those streets, carrying that heavy cross that he would hang on to die—we hear Pilate pronouncing these dark words over him:


Behold the man.”

This phrase is used in one other place, in the very first chapters of the bible.


I’ll quickly paint the scene: God created the world and everything in it, fashioned mankind in his image, breathed into us the breath of life and placed us in a garden both to flourish and cultivate this new world with Him. But a choice was made, and it’s the same choice we all make when we say, “You know what God, I’m going to do this my way.” As a result, sin entered the world, and with it, death.


A curse was pronounced over the whole earth, and, as a sign of that curse, out from the ground grew thorns. Genesis 3:22 picks up with this:


Then the LORD God said, “Behold the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—”


And then, it abruptly stops.


You see it, don't you? This sentence is an incomplete thought! It’s as if God is convening within himself (Father, Son, Spirit), reasoning together, and at just the thought of humanity eating of the tree of life and living forever in sin, God can’t even finish his sentence. He’s choked up! The mere thought of his beloved creation living forever under the curse of sin has the Lord of the universe fighting to hold back the tears!


Although we so often grasp to be like God, what we see in Jesus is the One who willingly loosened his grip enough to become like us! And when Jesus reached out his hands on that Good Friday, he stretched them out to die—wearing for us our crown of thorns and bearing for us our curse—that somehow, his cross might become for us the tree of life.


Our crown became his, that his crown might become ours.

Our crown became his, that his crown might become ours.

Stuart Townend says it well:


"Behold the man upon a cross,

My sin upon his shoulders;

Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice

Call out among the scoffers.

It was my sin that held Him there

Until it was accomplished;

His dying breath has brought me life –

I know that it is finished."


Selah.

Amen.

Thank you, Jesus.



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