I. The Curse: Genesis 3:17-19
The presence of thorns is the reminder of the reality of sin and of God’s judgment on it. Humanity and all creation continue to feel the sting of it.
Thorns are now present. Women would feel the pain of childbirth. Men would experience pain in life-sustaining work. Sin’s curse strikes both at the core of our existence and at the source of our joys. The sweet tenderness of motherhood is now racked with pain. The garden of paradise is now a sweaty, exhausting battleground infested with thorns. When all his labor is done, man returns to the dust of the ground (Ecclesiastes 2:11; Romans 8:20-21; Revelation 22:3).
II. The Cross: Matthew 27:27-31
Christ was hated, humiliated, mocked, tortured, and then crucified. Crucifixion was a long, agonizing death from blood lost, dehydration, exposure, asphyxiation, with wounds from head to foot—brow ripped and pierced by thorns, back in bloody ribbons against rough-hewn wood, aching hands and feet spiked to the cross, chest pounding with lack of oxygen from the crushing weight of his body hanging from his impaled wrists
“Was he scourged? It was that ‘through His stripes we might be healed.’—Was he condemned, though innocent? It was that we might be acquitted though guilty.—Did He wear a crown of thorns? It was that we might wear the crown of glory.—Was He stripped of His raiment? It was that we might be clothed in everlasting righteousness.—Was He mocked and reviled? It was that we might be honored and blessed. –Was He reckoned a malefactor, and numbered among transgressors? It was that we might be reckoned innocent, and justified from all sin.—Was he declared unable to save Himself? It was that He might be able to save others to the uttermost.—Did He die at last, and that the most painful and disgraceful of deaths? It was that we might live for evermore, and be exalted to the highest glory.—Let us ponder these things well. They are worth remembering.” J.C. Ryle
“This do in remembrance of me”—we should never forget what Christ suffered to set us free!
Galatians 3:13-14--Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"—so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
III. The Cause: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
To share in the sufferings of Christ is to know the power of Christ now and the glory of Christ forever. We dare not shrink from the suffering God ordains for us nor need we despair in those times we most feel the “weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.”
They mark us as God’s own, they sanctify us from sin and its pride, they introduce us to close fellowship with our Lord, they open a channel for the inexplicable power of God to flow through our lives, and they win for us an eternal weight of glory.
All people suffer. Christians have a glorious reason to do so and can do so with joy! We suffer with Him—we will reign with Him. Sufferings of this present time not worthy to be compared with the glory to follow!
“Few nowadays will side with the truth their fathers bled for. The day for covenanting to follow Jesus through evil report and shame appears to have gone by. Yet, though men turn round upon us and say, ‘Do you call your gospel divine? Are you so preposterous as to believe that your religion comes from God and is to subdue the world?’—we boldly answer: ‘Yes!’”
“Even as beneath the peasant’s garb and the wan visage of the Son of Mary we can discern the Wonderful, the Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father! so beneath the simple form of a despised gospel we perceive the royal lineaments of truth divine. We cane nothing about the outward apparel or the external housing of truth; we love it for its own sake. To us, the marble halls and the alabaster columns are nothing, we see more in the manger and the cross. We are satisfied that Christ is the king still where he was wont be king, and that is not among the great ones of the earth, not among the mighty and the learned, but amongst the base things of the world and the things which are not, which shall bring to naught the things that are, for these hath God from the beginning chosen to be his own.” Charles Spurgeon