Have you seen this plant? When I was growing up, I recall my parents having a gnarled old plant like this in a metal bucket. Most of the year, it looked thorny and ugly. But when it bloomed with small round flowers all over, it was beautiful.
The Crown of Thorns is associated with Passion Week. We don’t know whether this plant formed the crown thrust onto Jesus’ head by mocking soldiers. But the spiky stems certainly make it a strong candidate. And the red flowers symbolize the drops of blood that fell from Jesus’ head and wounds.
Last week, I studied Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane, just before he was betrayed. The Bible tells us he was so greatly troubled that he sweat drops of blood. I’d always imagined he was grieved and anxious about the physical trial he was about to undergo. But this time, as I read of his anguish and sorrow, I saw a different reason. This time, I realized he was grieving about the weight of sin that would be put on him. About the burden he chose to carry that was my sin. And He grieved for the moment His Father would turn away. He who was one with the Father would soon bear the sins of the world. . .alone. No wonder our Savior cried out to let the cup pass from him. But in the end, He chose to drink it. All of it. Alone. For me. And you.
Little red flowers that look like drops of blood. That remind us there is no greater love.