Your Laurel Crown of Victory
Christ wore the crown of thorns, so you could wear the laurel crown of victory.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24–27 NIV
Before the horror of the crucifixion, Jesus was viciously flogged to near death, beaten, spit on, mocked by putting a purple robe on Him and then tearing it off His torn and bleeding flesh, a crown of thorns mashed onto His head, and beaten with a rod given to Him as a mock scepter. He endured all that for you.
We might think of the crown of victory as a gold, star-pointed crown covered and inlaid with precious jewels. But the true ancient crown of victory from the Greek and Roman eras was the humble crown of the living shoots and branches of the bay or cherry laurel or sometimes the wild olive, twisted into the memorable Olympiad crown of victory that we still see today. This was the crown of honor and victory and achievement and the highest accomplishment. This was a crown that was alive and vibrant and fresh and new. Not anything like the degrading and sorrowful crown of thorns.
Run the race of this life to win. Run to get the prize. Train yourself each day in such a way that you will win. Do not stop and become disqualified and do not rely upon your past successes to sustain you into tomorrow—that’s “resting on your laurels”—and the race your running isn’t over yet. You can do this. You can run your race and win. Christ has your crown wreath of laurel waiting for you at the finish line because He wore the crown of thorns for you.
Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. 10 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.” Revelation 4:4, 10–11 NIV