The Crowning With Thorns


August 29, 2013 by mattfradd


The Rosary,” wrote Blessed Pope John Paul II, “precisely because it starts with Mary’s own experience, is an exquisitely contemplative prayer. Without this contemplative dimension, it would lose its meaning.”

Pope Paul VI wrote that “without [this contemplation,] the Rosary is a body without a soul, and its recitation is in danger of becoming a mechanical repetition of formulas and of going counter to the warning of Christ: ‘And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words’ (Mt 6:7).’”

Because of this, it is vital that Christians familiarize themselves with the Scriptures in order to meditate on the mysteries of the life of Christ.

Below is the third sorrowful mystery. To see other mysteries, click here.

The Crowing With Thorns

After Jesus had been scourged, the soldiers took Jesus into the residence of Pilate, where the “gathered the whole battalion before him” (27:27). The soldiers then mocked Christ by stripping him of his clothes and placing a scarlet robe on him. The soldiers then twisted thorns into a crown and put it on his head, put a reed in his right hand and knelt down before him saying “hail, King of the Jews!” They spat on him and then used the reed to strike him on the head.


The son of God had now been brutally scourged, mocked, spat upon and crowned with thorns. It is now that the prophecy of the suffering servant in Isaiah 52 is being fulfilled.

We read, “[H]e had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Is 52:3-5)

The ignatius Study Bible comments on how, allegorically, “the title and articles used to slander Jesus signify his Kingship and triumph over sin. The scarlet robe (27:28) represents Jesus’ defeat of Satan through his shed blood/ the crown of thorns (27:29) points to the crown of glory that adorns Jesus at his ascension; the reed (27:29) signifies the scepter of his heavenly kingdom.Through these images, Christ’s victory is paradoxically announced in the midst of his apparent defeat.”[1]

Personal Insight

Meditating upon the contempt the crowds and soldiers showed Christ, we are reminded that we also are called to bear persecution.

Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” (Jn 15:18).  Why will they hate us? Jesus tells us; “If you were of the world, the world would love it’s own” (Jn 15:19). – Here It is interesting to note that the Romans would not subject their own citizens to the horror of scourging which was reserved only for “slaves, prisoners and those living in the provinces.”[2]

Regardless of the persecution we face in this life, we can take courage in our Lord’s words, “in the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33)

[1] Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch, Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament, n. Matt 27:29

[2] Scott Hahn, Catholic Bible Dictionary, s.v. “Scourging.”

3 thoughts on “The Crowning With Thorns

  1. […] Pope Paul VI wrote that “without [this contemplation,] the Rosary is a body without a soul, and its recitation is in …read more […]

  2. Rachel says:

    Thank you for giving me extra insight on this mystery, Matt. Normally when I meditate upon this mystery, I normally only think of how much those thorns would have hurt Our Lord as they pierced his scalp, but i always forget to think of everythign else that went on! The mockery of the soldiers, the jeering crowds, the red robe, the reed scepter and how they beat Jesus’s head with it, the persecution, the name calling. There is so much more to “The Crowning With Thorns” than the crown of thorns its self, and thats that the emotional pain of the crowning with thorns may have equaled the physical, maybe even surpassed it.

  3. Rachel says:

    Not to metnion the spitting which is so hurtful.

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