One Thorny Question
By Wendy Wippel
Remember those wristbands that became the rage about 15 years ago that asked, “What would Jesus do?” They were meant to remind the wearer to act in love. Like, Jesus. Amen? The Bible says that Jesus came for one specific hour, however. (John 12:27) Meaning the crucifixion. So maybe a better question is Jesus do?”
Jesus came to earth to be the sacrifice for our sins. He said it: “My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour”. His cousin, John confirmed it The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! Mission accomplished.
Praise God, and all the people said “Amen”.
That said, it’s kind of interesting what Jesus chose to do after that mission was accomplished. After His resurrection. One of the first appearances He made, beyond grave site, was to two followers (Cleopas and unnamed companion), was on the Emmaus road.
And what He did there, after His main mission was completed, is kind of interesting. He has a Bible study. And the interpretive method He defines is one that escapes us generally until it’s pointed out, but one that is completely necessary to address the anguish that has consumed many of Jesus’ disciples since the crucifixion. Cleopas and the unnamed disciple are distraught because they had come to believe–completely, absolutely, without reservation, that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Promised from Genesis 1 on. And then they watched Him die.
So they’re confused. And now they don’t know what to think. And this is what Jesus tells them:
Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
(Emphasis on “all” there. The scriptures said that He would die.) Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”
And then He says a really interesting thing;
“Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. Luke 24:25-27 NASB.
Translation: He explained to these two disciples that all of the scriptures spoke of Him-His death and resurrection and His redemption of those who seek Him-and apparently gave them plenty of examples. And it did the trick. Jesus takes His leave, but the disciples continue the conversation:
“And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” And they told about the things that had happened on the road… – Luke 24:32-35
That’s a bible study that I would have loved to have been a part of! But we can apply the principles, can’t we? yes, with one caveat. When Jesus had this conversation on the Emmaus road, the scriptures consisted of only the Old Testament. How is the Old Testament all about Jesus?
Well, the Old Testament tells us. Specifically, Hosea 12:20. It tells us that God speaks in “similitudes”. Which is just a King James way of telling us that God uses symbols and analogies. And once you start paying attention, the symbols that speak of the Messiah are all over the Old Testament.
They would have to be, if everything in the Old Testament, as the Lord himself taught on the Emmaus road, speaks of him, Meaning that the symbols represent some truth about or aspect of Jesus, our redeemer.
Exhibit A: one of the very first similitudes encountered in Scripture. Thorns.
God declared everything he made “Good” in Chapter 2 of Genesis, but alas, it didn’t last long. Barely into Chapter 3 Eve has eaten the forbidden fruit and planet earth has changed forever.:
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
“Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return. Genisis 3:17-19
The paradise that was Eden was gone. From now on the ground would be nonproductive and laboriously worked. Thorns and thistles would replace the easy crops of Eden.
Now the ground would yield thorns. It was part of the curse.
The next time we see thorns is when Moses has an encounter with a mysterious bush in the wilderness. And the word used for bush in, is “seneh”, from a root word that means to”to prick”
In other words, it was a thorn bush.
And if you remember, Moses’ thorn bush burns, but the bush is not consumed.
You may have wondered at some point what the heck this whole thing was about. But now, thanks to the Emmaus road, we know. It speaks of Jesus.
Our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:29). In context, as it pertains to judgement.
The burning bush, the burning thorn bush, speaks of God’s judgement poured out while the judged is simultaneously spared. A ray of hope that the curse would be lifted. That humanity could be redeemed.
And now we know why Jesus wore a crown of thorns.
He was carrying the curse to the cross. And when he laid down His life as the sacrifice lamb, the curse lost its power.
Now, as promised, whosoever believed in Him could have eternal life.
Now, as promised the nation of Israel could finally have their rightful king.
Which, interestingly, is another promise that ended the curse:
“For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shallclap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; And it shall be to the Lord for a name, For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” Isaiah 55:12-13.
Isn’t Bible study fun?