This Sunday is Palm Sunday—the service where we focus our attention on the King who rode ‘triumphantly’ (or not so triumphantly) into Jerusalem, a King unlike any other king the world had ever seen.
Growing up I always looked forward to Palm Sunday, because it was the service where we were going to sing one of my favorite childhood songs: “Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest….” And all of us kids would stroll through the aisles or stand at the front, waving our palm branches and inspiring the adults to regain their childlike glee and do the same with the branches that had been given them at the door.
These songs of exaltation to our King have always had a special place in my heart, in large respect because—and I’m realizing this more and more—my favorite analogy or image of Jesus is that of King. He is my King.
So songs which include lyrics such as, “Crown Him with Many Crowns…,” “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation…,” “All hail the power of Jesus’ Name,” “Hallelujah to My King”—these songs have always been my go-to tunes.
He is my King. And so I thoroughly enjoyed writing the blog on worship a couple weeks back, in large respect because I realized ‘worship’ as defined by Scripture is actually entirely about bowing down before an authority figure. Worship is coming before the throne and kneeling before our King. It completely adjusted the way I think about worship.
Interestingly, I recently finished watching season three of The Crown on Netflix, which is a series that depicts the life of Queen Elizabeth II from coronation in season one through to her first ‘Jubilee Year’ in 1977.
And in the final episode of season three, the Queen’s sister—Margaret—has a mini monologue in which she highlights what the crown means for the nation. The Queen is having a mild identity crisis, wondering what her reign has accomplished since all she’s seen is that the place has fallen apart.
And then Princess Margaret says this:
“It’s only fallen apart if we say it has. That’s the thing about the monarchy. We paper over the cracks. And if what we do is loud and grand and confident enough, no one will notice—that all around us, it’s fallen apart. That’s the point of us. Not us; of you. You cannot flinch. Because if you show a single crack, we’ll see it isn’t a crack, but a chasm. And we’ll all fall in. So you must hold it all together.”
Suddenly, after hearing that speech, every other episode made sense. The point of the monarchy made sense. Why we glorify the royals and place their faces on mugs and pens and fridge magnets all made sense.
The Crown holds it all together. When everything else feels chaotic, the crown is the red carpet that covers over it, the glue that keeps it bound. The Crown keeps the people from seeing only disorder—because here, in the monarchy, is something that only speaks order, dignity, authority, and control.
Perhaps you can sense where I’m going with this.
In the book of Colossians, Paul speaks of Christ as the one who holds all things together.
"For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy."
In this case, from Paul’s perspective, Christ is supreme authority. He is the one who holds all things together in the face of a chaotic world.
But the major difference, here, between the way Paul speaks about Jesus and the way Margaret speaks about Elizabeth is that Jesus doesn’t have to pretend that everything is okay.
Christ doesn’t just paper over the cracks. He fills them. He shines His light through them. Elizabeth wasn’t allowed to show a single moment of weakness, and yet Christ demonstrated His glory by becoming weak, by humiliating himself in the most humiliating way possible.
His greatest moment of triumph was not a coronation, but a cross. He didn’t ride into Jerusalem on a mighty steed to receive a throne and a crown of gold. He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to receive a cross and a crown of thorns.
This is a King like no other, like nothing else the world had or has ever seen. And how blessed are we to be a part of His Kingdom? To be able to work in His vineyard? To have a relationship with our King?
In the midst of all the chaos of the world, we have King Jesus. We have a King who will never abdicate or pass away or need to celebrate a Jubilee year for lasting as long as twenty-five or fifty years.
He is eternal. He is the beginning and the end; the alpha and omega. So that in all things, He might have supremacy.
Glory to the King of kings.