The 40 days of Lent from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday are counted by NOT including Sundays.  While the Lenten days are days for spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical fasting, the Sundays are "the Lord’s Day” and a time of celebration. Accordingly, each Friday during the Lenten season, a different devotional will be posted here to help focus our mediation on the cross of Jesus. You may be using any number of devotional tools during Lent, but perhaps on each Sunday, we might come together as a faith community in spiritual oneness and meditate in unity. Each Sunday, we will consider a different one of the components of the cross of Jesus which led to His death for our sins. May the Lord Jesus be near to us as we pilgrimage together during the Lenten season. And may we arrive at Resurrection Sunday on 12 April with hearts that explode with new understanding of the precious Treasure that is Jesus.
Week 3: CROWN

In John 19:2-6, the Gospel writer painfully remembers what was,

“The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ And they struck him in the face.  …When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, ‘Here is the man!’  As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, ‘Crucify! Crucify!’”

But Revelation 4:8-11 looks forward with great anticipation what will be,

“…Day and night they never stop saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.’  Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:  ‘You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.’”

Into our cross remembrance today, we place the crown of thorns.  The crown is another tool of the physical torture of Jesus. It was accompanied by mocking cries and face-slaps from those who pressed the thorns into His “sacred head.”  The crown is also a way to measure our relationship to Jesus Christ.  It is an emblem which visually begs the question, “What crown do I give Him?”

Everyone has a crown to give.

The crown of thorns was given to Jesus by Roman soldiers who would not believe that He could be a king of any kind, and so never gave any serious thought to following Him.  Their opinions of Jesus and relationship to Him ranged from casual indifference and duty to resentment, hate or even worse—and everything in between. Jesus was worthy of attention, but not following.  Notable, but not significant.  He was a duty to be attended to, but not a regal to be bowed to.  He was part of their schedule, not part of their lives.  He was a ruler of a rebellion perhaps, not a ruler for their hearts.  Jesus was a peasant carpenter’s son, but certainly not the Son of God.  Maybe a teacher, but not a king.  Surely not.  Or so they thought.  And in response, Jesus received the mocking and the torture of a hand-woven thorn crown.

But someday another crown will be given to Jesus. A regal and golden one.  And more than one—too many to count, in fact. And those who give these crowns to Jesus will not place them on His head, but at His feet. Why? Because bowing at His feet on their faces before Him is where they will be also. The worth of Jesus will be so blazingly obvious and so loudly proclaimed on that day, that no one will move to place the crowns on His head. The work of worship and adoration will overcome everyone present. He will be worthy of more worship than anyone can give or pronounce.

And so He is today.

So what kind of crown am I giving? The thorny crown of unbelief, indifference, casual faith, convenient following, marginal living, hard-heartedness or even rebellion?  Or the golden crown of faith, adoration, sacrifice, service, edification, community and devotion?

Thoughts on Seeking God during the Lenten Season

What is Lent?

Lent is the 40-day period between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday (Sundays are not counted) that has been observed by much of the Church since the 2nd century A.D.  These 40 days have been used in the Church in various ways, but all with the goal of focusing on Jesus.  Corporately in some churches, Lent was set aside as a time of teaching and study to prepare Christians for participation in the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  Additionally, individual Christians have used the Lenten season as a time for fasting, primarily from food, in imitation of Jesus’ 40-day fast in the desert.  But there are other worshipful and edifying ways to utilize the season of Lent as well.

Commonly, Lent is associated with fasting (self-denial) – and often limited to fasting from food in particular.  While food-fasting (foregoing designated mealtimes in favor of focused time with God) in its various implementations is the kind most often referred to in Scripture, it is certainly not the only fasting which can be practiced (Isaiah 58:6-9).  So in addition to the historical spiritual disciplines below, consider those things in your life which may be inhibiting your relationship with God – not only sins, but also “good” things that receive more priority in your life than they should.  How might you “fast” from these things?  For example, in the digital age, surely there is a case for most of us to consider the place that mobile devices have in our daily lives and to lessen the space allowed for social media in order to make more “soul space” for God.

Spiritual Disciplines

Lent is a time to focus on spiritual disciplines – especially those which we might not regularly practice.  Spiritual disciplines are devotional practices which point us to Jesus and assist us as disciples in the practical application of faith and developing Christlike patterns for living.  It is important to keep in mind that the practice of spiritual disciplines is not to gain the approval of God, but rather to draw nearer to the Father Who already loves and approves of us  (James 4:8; Jeremiah 31:3).

Historically, the list of (Lenten and all) spiritual disciplines is divided into disciplines of abstinence (things we remove from our lives) and disciplines of engagement (things we add to our lives).

Disciplines of Abstinence (self-denial) – Solitude, Silence, Fasting, Sabbath, Secrecy, Submission, Sacrifice, Slowing

Disciplines of Engagement – Word, Worship, Prayer, Soul Friendship, Meditation, Service, Tithing, Giving

For explanations of these disciplines and more information:
Additional Options:

  • Follow another online Lenten devotional.  
  • Sign-up to be a part of ECB’s weekly prayer and fasting discipline.
  • Use the Sunday devotional meditations found in the ECB App.