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Holy Week: Hope in the Thorns

By Lt. Shawn DeBaar, Branson Corps

During the Easter season we celebrate the great sacrifice that Christ made for all mankind. The Apostle Peter reminds the Church that we have been “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”.1

As I read through the Gospels during the Lenten season, my heart is always gripped by the account of the Roman soldiers placing the crown of thorns on Jesus.

In preparation for the crucifixion Matthew tells us that the Roman soldiers stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand.2 Jesus who was the King over all creation, in the midst of this humiliating scene, could have called for legions of angels to come rescue Him. Yet, He allowed the soldiers to mock Him and He didn’t seek deliverance from the hands of these men.

imageUnlike the majestic crowns monarchs of the time wore, the crown placed upon Jesus’ head was one of insult and pain. The crown that was crafted from thorns was, although unknown to the soldiers, a physical representation of a curse that had plagued the Earth since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. After eating the forbidden fruit, God proclaimed that thorns and thistles would now blanket the earth.3 Before sin entered the story, the soil of Eden gifted Adam and Eve only good produce. It was after this curse in Genesis that the good gifted from the Earth would now grow amongst the thorns and thistles. In a physically symbolic way, Jesus took upon his head the curse of mankind. The writer of Hebrews tells us that, He became a curse for us.4

Thorns remind mankind about the result of sin entering our world and the burden that sin cast upon us. The difficult situations many families in our communities face, much like thorns thriving in the field, are reminders to them of societal and cultural burdens. Hunger, poverty, and broken homes remind many of our neighbors about the burdens they have to carry. Too often they carry these burdens alone.
Families who come searching for help from The Salvation Army are seeking for someone to share their burdens. The Salvation Army’s heart is to help carry the afflictions that prevent them from believing there is hope. Jesus took for us the burden of sin upon Himself and has called us to cast our anxieties on Him.5

Seeing Christ as the perfect model of sacrificial service, we wish to share the hardships, injustices, and frustrations of life with those who reach out to us. We don’t lose hope in those we serve. We share with them the hope that can be found in people sharing one another’s hardships and the hope that can only be found in Christ. It is a hope that we celebrate this Easter season. A hope that empowers us, despite the daily reminders of the burdens so many carry, to get up each day and serve suffering humanity and share the message of the Gospel.

Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Shawn DeBaar is a Lieutenant in The Salvation Army and, alongside his wife Aubrey, is the Corps Officer of the Branson, MO Corps.

1 (1 Peter 1:3 ESV)
2 (Matthew 27:27-31 ESV)
3 (ref. Gen 3:18)
4 (ref. Gal. 3:13)
5 (ref. 1 Peter 5:7)