King of Closeness
Dr. Doug Posey
On that first “Palm Sunday,” the crowds were worked up into a frenzy. None of it was a surprise to Jesus. He was in control. He knew what was happening. The people may not have fully understood the real reason He deserved to be King, but they knew He was “blessed” and He was, “He who comes in the name of the Lord!” It was a coronation, one unlike any before, or since. Though it lacked the massive gems, royal crowns, or diadems, robes, scepters, and other accoutrements that may accompany a coronation we might picture, it nonetheless marked Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, the city of King David, and celebration of Jesus as King.
What Jesus had always highlighted so well in His earthly ministry was the stark contrast between good and evil, light and darkness, right and wrong, truth and error and, of course, God and the evil one. He personified that which would draw people to God. His finished work on the cross would ultimately accomplish that. Christ’s sacrifice would open up access to the Father like nothing before Him ever could.
The people felt He had brought them close to God like the religious leaders—the scribes, Pharisees and high priest—were unable to, because of His miraculous ability to heal the sick and raise the dead, His stunning mastery of the spoken word, and His power over the elements and the demonic realm. All the rites, rituals, sacrifices and services in the temple, could not get people as close to God as Jesus had. As He said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father;” (John 14:9).
People have all kinds of immediate needs. They hunger, so they need food. They thirst, so they need water. They experience illness, so they need healing. They are lonely, they need relationship. Jesus came along and in the minds of many, their felt-needs were met. Temporal necessities were satisfied. They believed this was what Messiah would offer. The next logical step would have been restoring control of their land, Israel, to their government and defeat the Romans. What better king to put on the throne than someone like Jesus, Who was meeting so many needs? But, were these their greatest needs?
Their greatest need was to draw near to God. It’s everyone’s greatest need. Jesus had given the people a glimpse of the Father their religion could never give them. The religious leaders, those who were at odds with Jesus, were threatened in part because they knew Jesus tapped into this reality, this need in the people. It was something they were powerless to do. Their only recourse was to eliminate the One diverting the adulation of the people away from them.
Christ would bring people closer to the Father than anyone could, but He wouldn’t do it in they way they expected. At the same time, the fact that He would do this threatened the grasp the religious elite had on the people. So, on that day of Jesus’ coronation, two groups—the crowds and the religious leaders—would soon join forces in opposition, not only to Jesus’ coronation, but to His very survival. No surprise to Jesus. He was still in control.
His throne was waiting. He left it to do His work that wasn’t yet finished. But, on that day, it was good for them to celebrate the King. That’s exactly Who He is. In fact He is the Priest-King. He is the One Who offers the sacrifice on our behalf. Once His blood was offered, the curtain was torn in two, He entered the Holy of Holies, giving us direct access to the Father and, “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him” (Hebrews 7:25).
“Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” —HEBREWS 8:1