Ways of Christ

Logo: drawed Christian cross and earth symbol

Main text part 1, The Gospels,
chapter :

The crowning with thorns and the last speeches.

Drawing: Vine as a symbol

Drawing: crown of thorns

Since whipping was a minimum punishment customarily used by the Romans, an interpretation in the symbolism of pre-Christian mystery cults is not so obvious. The crowning with thorns, however (Joh.19, 2-3), a later symbol from these mysteries, was not a component of the normal Roman law **. It can, of course, be seen as irony - thorns instead of gold. Nevertheless the question remainsas to how the soldiers made exact use of mysteries, even though they may not have done this consciously at the time. Many Roman soldiers were adherents of mysteries. Even if they had seen the outward similarity of what they were doing, they still would not have been able to reduce Christ to the kind of experience they knew.

While the golden crown would have been a symbol of outward domination - not necessarily meant in a negative way - for Christ the crown of thorns was a symbol of a kind of mastery that did not count in the world. The thorns pricked into his head. This does not only concern pain, but the strength to overcome all mental despair, which Christ did not show any sign of. These signs can only be seen at the moment before he finally decided that he did not want "this cup" (of sorrows) to pass him by . With the whipping and crowning with thorns we find something suggested that is a continuation of the the way, which started with the foot washing; the feeling and the insight - braving all obstacles - appear sanctified too.

The previously mentioned continuous tendency to surpass himself, seen in the foot washing, whipping and crowning with thorns, also has a relation to new movements, like the peace movement, ecological movement and spiritual movements that want "to heal the earth".

Just as it was in the case of the "whipping", the crowning with thorns was a reaction, a poor copy of that which had already taken place. This very point, which from the positive point of view expressed this spiritual opening, enabled him to mentally surpass himself. This is contained in the farewell speeches* of Jesus - e.g. John 13,31 - 17: "... that the love with which You have loved me may be in them, and I in them"; and in the meetings with Pilate, e.g. John 19,5*. (*"See, The human being", which can be experienced in meditation like Pilate’s feeling for Jesus Christ as the model of redeemed human beings). Not only the foot washing and the supper as such, also the words of Jesus were "deeds" at the same time.

In the light of these realisations, it might be worth considering these positive basics in a more decisive way when we speak about "Christian initiations or stages of development".

**) However, in the history of religions there existed a figure of derision or a king of mockery, who was made to bear the brunt of public anger. In the Old Testament there was the scapegoat, who was meant to atone for the sins of the people (3rd Moses 16:15). In both cases it was meant as a kind of symbolic ritual. For that reason, traditional theology has made an effort to illustrate that only Jesus was capable of making a really effective sacrifice for mankind. Some critical theologians were of the opinion that due to this harking back to old sacrificial cultures they could question the basic idea of a victim. That may have been frivolous but, as illustrated above, the events contain far more than the aspect of sacrificing oneself. His goal is also important.

*Extra window: quote from the Bible

Help: a self-examination for the work with the main text

Do I want to ask* God – if I haven’t already – to help me deal wisely with groups I belong to - even if it requires working hard on my old thoughts ?


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