Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. (Psalm 24:10)
Recently a friend was telling me how his company was training everyone on his work team to do the others’ jobs. At first it sounded like his “teammates” would be jacks-of-all-trades yet masters of none.
But then it made sense: the more well-rounded each member was, the easier the team could recover when one of the members was away from work. No one was indispensable.
So, are the days of specialists numbered?
In American religion, the days of “specialization” are long gone. You and I freely admit we all suffer from a “problem” – we sometimes get depressed; we wish we were happier at work; we wish our lives had real meaning – but we each conjure up different solutions to the “problem.” You might choose to sit on the river banks all the time to deal with your problems. I might choose meditation.
Doesn’t matter. In the eyes of most folks, they’re all the same: interchangeable, just like my friend’s coworkers.
Palm Sunday, however, presents you with only One solution to your problem – sin. And He is irreplaceable.
As we read Psalm 24 this morning, which is an ancient reading appropriate both for Palm Sunday (when we celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem) and for the Ascension, you and I meet our uniquely qualified, irreplaceable King. Jesus is the King of creation, our holy King and our victorious King.
In this world where people seem interchangeable, Jesus Christ is uniquely qualified to save you from your sin.
Psalm 24 first hails the Lord as the King of creation, which should bring you great comfort as you consider Christ’s power to redeem you.
Verse 1 of this psalm is one of those famous texts to which you and I refer when we speak of developing a Christian world-and-life-view. In our Reformed tradition we view all of life as falling under the dominion of Christ the King; therefore even your work and recreation are sacred.
The first couple of verses of Psalm 24 give you reason to contemplate the divine when you see an azalea bush or an ant or a factory. The Lord God is King of all creation – even down to the tiniest insect and up to the highest mountaintop.
What’s more, this psalm extols the power of our God. He founded the earth upon the seas and on the floods, and you’ll recall that in Scripture the seas are represented as being unstable and even threatening. In light of the rest of God’s Word, it seems unlikely that God could found anything firm on the changing, tumultuous seas: yet such is the power of our Lord!
What is even more amazing is that the King who entered Jerusalem that Sunday 2,000 years ago is the same Jesus “by whom all things were made” and “in whom all things hold together.”
When you and I consider Jesus, we often do so as though he were a mild, gentle friend who’s there to help us along life’s way. Sometimes a self-help book or a good meal can do as much for us as Christ, we think, but it’s nice to have that humble buddy at our disposal.
This week, as you come to grips with Jesus’ suffering and death, don’t lose sight of who he is from all eternity: the King of creation, mighty enough to found this earth on the raging seas. This same Jesus came into His city and healed those who were sick. He will come into your heart and heal your deepest sickness, sin, in a way that no one else is powerful enough to do.
Only Jesus is the King of creation. And only Jesus can save you.
A second essential aspect of Christ’s character is that he is our holy King. As you think on his power, Psalm 24 also moves you to dwell on his righteousness and purity.
Verse 3 asks a question that clangs against our postmodern eardrums: “Who may ascend to God’s holy hill?” You and I these days join in the world’s chorus as we speak generally about “God” and claim a personal knowledge of Him; yet a personal relationship with the Lord God is no one’s right. From the earliest days God taught His people that He was holy and therefore would not tolerate their sin. Without purity, the psalmist tells us, no one could have access to the Lord.
Specifically, David here says that the only person who may have intimate access to the Lord is the person who is totally pure – in thought, word and deed. This is the person who will be vindicated by the God of salvation.
This person is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ.
Not one of us truly is pure in his thoughts; not one of us can claim innocence in all the affairs of life; not one of us can claim to have spoken with complete truth all the time. This means that just as you and I don’t naturally have access to the Oval Office given our “man-on-the-street” status, neither do we have access of ourselves as sinners to a holy God. Our access is through Jesus Christ: his perfection, his righteousness become ours as you and I believe on him as our Savior. His total purity becomes yours. And he merits heaven for you.
If you and I really are of the “generation that seeks the God of Jacob,” then we need Christ the Holy King, and none other, as our Savior. Without his purity and perfection clothing you, your seeking-after God is a fruitless endeavor.
Third, Christ the King is the victorious Warrior – which is especially comforting in light of the spiritual battle you and I face.
Verses 7 through 10 describe the joyous scene when King David brought the Ark of the Covenant into the Tabernacle: when God came to reign over and among His people, as symbolized by the ark, it truly was an occasion for rejoicing. God’s servants brought the ark in to antiphonal shouts of praise that declared just who the King of Glory was; and this description of the Lord is particularly appropriate as you and I approach Holy Week.
Three times David refers to the Lord as the “Lord mighty in battle.” Three times. Part of God’s glory, clearly, is that He is victorious over every enemy.
In the Old Testament, God’s victories for His people came against the Gentile nations that did not know Him – the Amalekites and the Hittites and the like.
In the New Testament, God’s greatest victory for His people came on Good Friday. The victory, won by our Lord Jesus Christ, was over sin and the tomb.
And over shame from your sins of 40 years ago.
And over the attitude that says, “I’ll always be this way. Things can’t get better.”
And over bleakness and over depression and over the sins that shatter families.
That first Palm Sunday, the people rejoiced – only to abandon Christ a few days later when they refused to accept his war and his mission.
You and I know admit that 501(k)s and medical care are nice. But they cannot emerge victorious over our real, deep-seated disease: sin.
Thank the Lord that the King who rode in meekly on a donkey is the King who cannot be defeated!
It might be true that you and I are dispensable at work. The parts to our lives might well seem interchangeable. And one pill, for instance, might work as well as another.
But this week, as you’re forced to take a difficult look inside your soul, understand the wonder of Palm Sunday: the King, your hope, is coming. No, he doesn’t come arrayed with soldiers and shiny weaponry. And he doesn’t come to bring earthly treasure.
Jesus comes as Creator to heal. He comes as Holy Lord to stand in for you and for me. He comes as Conqueror to bring lasting victory.
Lift up your heads: the only One who can save you, the indispensable Savior, has come. And with him he brings blessings for eternity.