Theme: Part Three: The Coming of the King
In this week’s lessons we learn how this psalm serves as a Messianic psalm, as Jesus enters into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday as Israel’s King.
Scripture: Psalm 24:1-10
The final section of Psalm 24 describes the entrance of the king into Jerusalem. It is the obvious climax. In verses 1 and 2 the earth is prepared for his coming. In verses 3-6 his people, the inhabitants of the earth, are prepared for him. In the third section, verses 7-10, the king comes. Who is he? He is “the great representative man, who answered to the full character laid down, and therefore by his own right ascended the holy hill of Zion.”4 He is Jesus, who entered the city on Palm Sunday in order to die for us. It is because he ascended the approach to Jerusalem, entered it and died there that we can enter heaven.
Many of the psalms seem to have been arranged for antiphonal singing, one voice or one choir asking a question and another choir or chorus answering it. This psalm is quite obviously like this.5 I do not see how it is possible to get the true effect of his last section without approaching it in this way. It goes like this:
The chorus approaching with the king:Lift up your heads, O you gates;be lifted up, you ancient doorsthat the King of glory may come in.
A voice from within the walls:Who is this King of glory?
A spokesman for the King:The LORD strong and mighty,the LORD mighty in battle.
The original approaching chorus:Lift up your heads, O you gates;lift them up, you ancient doors,that the King of glory may come in.
The voice from within repeating the former question:Who is he, this King of glory?
Everyone:The Lord Almighty—he is the King of glory.
It is easy to get excited about something as beautiful and moving as this liturgy. But we need to remember that the priests and people of Jesus’ day, though they sang it, did not really do what they were singing. In a sense they did; they let Jesus into the city and then into the temple area, where he threw out the money changers. But although they let him in, they did not actually let him in. That is, they did not let him into their hearts and lives.
That is the way he really wants to come in. He wants to come into your life to save you and change you. The way for you to respond is to let the King come in. Will you?
It is possible that you are saying, “I shall never enter into the heaven of God, for I have neither clean hands nor a pure heart.” Look then to Christ, who has already climbed the holy hill. He has entered as the forerunner of those who trust him. Follow in his footsteps, and repose upon his merit. He rides triumphantly into heaven, and you shall ride there too if you trust him. “But how can I get the character described?” say you. The Spirit of God will give you that. He will create in you a new heart and a right spirit. Faith in Jesus is the work of the Holy Spirit, and has all virtues wrapped up in it.6
What a blessing it would be to come thus to him who came to his own on Palm Sunday.
What is antiphonal singing? How is it used with great effect in the latter portion of this psalm?
Contrast the response of the priests and people of Jesus’ day with the response Jesus desires.
Application: In response to the clean hands and pure heart God has given you through the work of Christ, what will you do in the coming week to help others learn of their own need for the Savior?
For Further Study: To see how the book of Zechariah also prophesies the coming of Jesus, download and listen for free to James Boice’s message, “Israel’s Shepherd-King.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)
4C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, vol. 1a, Psalms 1-26 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1968), p. 377.5See Franz Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Psalms, vol. 1, trans. by Francis Bolton (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, n.d.), pp. 332, 333. Original edition 1867. Also Arno C. Gaebelein, The Book of Psalms: A Devotional and Prophetic Commentary (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1965), p. 117, 118.6C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, vol. 1a, Psalms 1-26 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1968), p. 378.