Friday, December 25, 2020

Outdoor Object Lesson 112: The Savior's Wreath

Key Text

"They braided a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and a reed in his right hand; and they kneeled down before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”" Matthew 27:29 (WEB)


A Christmas wreath is one of the most recognizable decorations, second only to the Christmas tree. Wreaths have been used continually since ancient Greece. The Greeks used them as a symbol of honor and victory. When an Olympian won a race he was presented with a wreath of greenery to wear on his head. Greek kings work a golden and jeweled wreath, called a crown, as a symbol of their position. This became a common symbol used by monarchs for thousands of years. The Greeks also hung wreaths over their doorway after the harvest as a symbol of prosperity and blessing that would see them through to the next spring. The wreath was later used by the Romans and then Medieval Europeans for similar purposes. 

The Romans valued heroes above all else. The highest honor they could bestow was a wreath woven of grasses and flowers. These were reserved for military generals and commanders who heroically rescued an army threatened with defeat. The rescued soldiers would fashion the wreath out of grasses growing right on the battlefield and present it to the General as a sign of gratitude for saving them. The General then wore this on his triumphal procession.1 

When Jesus was being led to the cross, the Roman soldiers put a staff in his hand and fashioned a wreath of thorns which they put on his head. They then mocked him because he claimed to be a king. The wreath of thorns was meant to mock the wreath given to heroic generals. What they didn’t realize is that he was about to die in order to save them and the rest of the world. Jesus was the ultimate Savior. The soldiers fashioned a wreath out of thorns from the battlefield--earth. The thorny crown they placed on his head was the very curse of sin God pronounced on the world after Adam and Eve's fall in Genesis 3:18. Jesus wore the wreath as he died thus claiming victory over sin and Satan. 

At Christmas time we place beautiful green wreaths outside our homes. They celebrate the prosperity and blessings God has given us that will sustain us into the new year. When you look at a Christmas wreath this season, remember that Christmas is about the birth of the Savior who came to rescue us. When Jesus returns the next time, he will no longer be wearing a wreath of thorns, he will be wearing many crowns (Revelation 19:2)! He will be wearing golden and jeweled crowns of all the nations because he is the mighty King who saved them all from defeat!

By David F. Garner

Photo credit: JillWellington via

1. CAleb D Parker, "The Many Coronas of Ancient Roman Society,", June 28, 2020,