“It will produce thorns and thistles for you” (Genesis 3:18, NIV).
When spring dawns on us, it’s time to put on the garden gloves, bring out the wheelbarrow, the digging shovel and all other tools for planting a garden. A flower garden is visually enticing and it often symbolizes beauty, joy, abundance among many other things. Nations around the world have plants and flowers designated to represent the countries’ character and culture. The United States chose the rose as the national floral emblem in 1986. It is a symbol of the beauty of life, love, devotion and eternity. The lotus, the national flower of India, represents fruitfulness, purity, and wealth. Usually found in the midst of murky waters, the lotus still shines bright.
Now in the case of Adam, the first man created, he was associated with a plant that represented him and all of his descendants by God. Although created in God’s own image, God didn’t declare the beautiful rose or the lotus for Adam. For the fallen man, God chose thorns and thistles as we read in Genesis 3:18. The sinful, disobedient nature of man called for it. In God’s eye, man’s state was of despair and anguish because he rejected God. Prophet Isaiah depicts one who bears thorns and thistles in Isaiah 53: 2-3 as, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.”
The crown of thorns that was fitting for Adam, you, and I was placed on Christ, the Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the valley.
This prophecy by Isaiah was fulfilled by Jesus Christ in front of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea. In the Gospel of John 19:2, we read “The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head.” Oh, the thorns, symbolizing man’s desolation and unpleasantness. It’s not a coincidence that a crown of thorns was placed on Christ. Christ, the spotless lamb of God, carried all of man’s sin and misery when that crown was placed on His head. Further in the Gospel of John 19:5 we read, “when Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” Yes, here is “The Man”, the life-giving Man that became a substitute for all of mankind representing our sin and shame upon the cross of Calvary.
The crown of thorns that was fitting for Adam, you, and I was placed on Christ, the Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the valley. Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Now, we can be rest assured, that if our hope is in Christ and we believe that He came into this world to die for us and give us everlasting life, we are no longer represented by thorns and thistles in God’s eyes. Our lives are no longer shameful and fruitless but we are transformed to offer God worship through Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. To God be the glory, great things He has done!
George John resides in Hawthorne, New Jersey with his wife Eirene and four children. He is in active fellowship with the believers in Elmwood Park Bible Chapel, New Jersey and serves as the Sunday School Principal. George is also a pharmacist by trade.