What has the Shroud of Turin have to do with the symbolism of the ram caught in the Bramble Bush, you may ask. For all those people who want to know more about the shroud of Turin, this is the sacred linen cloth in which the body of Jesus was buried after the crucifixion. This linen burial shroud, also known as the image of Edessa and the holy Mandylion was willed to the church by its owner, Umberto, the last Duke/Prince of Savoie, in 1983 and is now revered by millions of people all around the world as the shroud of Turin -the only cloth in the world which clearly shows the imprinted image of a crucified man’s face and torso.
So, this 14 feet x 3.5 feet linen cloth is the subject of a lot of controversy. Many people consider it to be a medieval fake, because that was the time when people believe that ancient relics could protect them from evil and diseases. However, Christianity does not rely on relics to spread The Word, Faith, and Belief in the Savior and his Grace. Some of the astonishing images which can be seen on this shroud are a number of bloodstained wound marks on the forehead. These wound marks are quite in keeping with the description of the crown of thorns, placed on the forehead of Jesus by the Roman soldiers when he was being taken to Golgotha. Now, what is the symbolism of these crown of thorns?
According to Shroud of Turin expert Barrie Schwortz, these thorns were definitely not a stylish crown woven into a round crown like wreath. They were gathered off a bramble bush, and roughly placed on Jesus’ head and forehead by the Roman soldiers. This was not a matter of respect. It was a demeaning gesture signifying, “so you consider yourself to be the king of the Jews, well, you are crowned with a crown of thorns.” This action was quite in keeping with an ancient Jewish prophecy going back to Abraham’s time, and talking about a ram which would be provided by God, for a sacrifice.
According to Genesis 22:1-12 God asked Abraham to take his son Isaac to Mount Moriah and then sacrifice him. Let us understand that God is not cruel. He doesn’t want child sacrifices. He just wanted to see how much Abraham trusted in him. Abraham was just going to sacrifice his son, when an angel told him to stop. God had proof that Abraham trusted in him, believed in him and feared him so much that he was willing to sacrifice his son, as demanded by God. “His faith was made complete by what he did” (James 2:21-23).
Abraham saw a Ram with its horns caught in a bramble bush. This ram was then sacrificed as a burnt offering on the altar, by Abraham and Isaac. Now, here was Abraham willing to sacrifice his much wanted and loved son, Isaac, so why would not God hesitate to let his own son, Jesus be sacrificed, as the Lamb, as suggested in the Jewish prophecies that Jehovah would provide a sacrifice. Besides this, Abraham knew that God had promised him plenty of grandsons through Isaac. So Abraham knew that God would not let Isaac be killed. He also knew that this action showed that he trusted in God enough to be willing to sacrifice his most precious son, Isaac on God’s command. So, the Lamb of God’s forehead was symbolically covered with cruel thorns before he was sacrificed on the Cross to save mankind. The thorns are definitely not in the shape of a crown, as seen in paintings, but are more like one and a half inch long bramble thorns gathered from the roadside and placed in a really rough fashion on the forehead and scalp of Jesus. These cruel marks can be seen on the shroud of Turin, even today.
Furthermore, Abraham knew that God had promised him offspring through Isaac, so this gave him reason to believe that God did not intend for Isaac to die permanently: