What’s in a Thorn?

If you have ever touched a thorn, you should have the same opinion that I have had of them. They aren’t something you spend a lot of time looking at simply because they aren’t attractive. They look like little horns and their only purpose is to cause pain. But they are on the stems of one of our most precious plants, the rose. Why would that be? My answer to that question is simple, but with a few layers.

The simple: God is a poet. I have been asked by some of my skeptical friends why poetry would show up in something as important as the Bible. Because God wants us to know that life isn’t just rules and laws, but that life is littered with beauty! What good would life be if there wasn’t anything in this world worth enjoying?


I like to look at the rose as a metaphor for our salvation. Let’s look at the stem as the road of life. The end of the road is a beautiful, fragrant bloom of timeless beauty. There is a reason the saying is “take time to stop and smell the roses.” It is a flower for all to enjoy.

The road though is paved with traps that can hurt you, the thorns. To get to the beautiful prize at the end, you have to bear through the long stem and stay clear of the thorns. In this sense you can look at the thorns as a metaphor for sins. If we aren’t careful, our sins can hurt us and cause us to slip. The reward at the end is worth the struggle though.

There are other reasons for the thorns to be a metaphor for sin though. So let’s take a deeper look. In Genesis 3:18 God curses the earth because the being He gave dominion over it, Adam, (Gen 1:26) brought sin into it. Thorns were created as a punishment for the first sin. So now you see that there is a biblical reason to look at thorns as a metaphor for sin. They are a direct result of it.

Here is the kicker though.

When we take a look at Matthew 27:29, we see the Roman soldiers twist together a crown of thorns that they put on Christ’s head to mock Him as the “King of Jews.” Jesus wore a crown of our sins upon His head as He was tortured and killed. See God’s poetry? The thorns on His head shed His life-giving blood so we could be saved. He literally bore the weight of our sins upon His head. God gave glory through something that is a metaphor for our faults against Him.

So the next time I look at a rose, I will think of His sacrifice and thank Him for it. The King of Kings, crowned in Heaven with a crown of glory, was first humbly crowned with our sins. Thank you, Jesus.

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