HIS MANY CROWNS
“And on His head were many crowns.” (Rev. 19.12)
No spiritual occupation, more delightful or profitable, can engage the sanctified intelligence of a grace-saved sinner than the contemplation of the Lord Jesus Christ in the perfections and glories of His Person and offices. Yet, believers, it may be observed, are accustomed to reflect rather on their grace-relations with Christ than on that still more marvellous display of the Divine condescension set forth in Christ’s glory-relations with the people whom His precious blood has redeemed. Do we, beloved friends, at all adequately grasp the blessed substance of that truth which the apostle Paul emphasized in his prayer, for believers in Christ, at Ephesus – “that ye may know what is the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints”?
The preciousness of a redeemed sinner to the heart of Christ is one of the deepest mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. Oh, beloved in Him, what, in the dateless periods of eternity past, must have been the thoughts of the Son of God towards the persons of elect sinners that He should have covenanted with the infinite justice, holiness and truth of God the Father, to redeem, to reconcile, and save them for all eternity to come! By thus covenanting to save them from the law-curse, the dominion of sin, and the sting of death. He secured the first of His “many crowns”. It is delightful to think that, however mean His incarnation-birth, the Babe of Bethlehem entered upon His mission of salvation wearing this primeval crown -the Crown of His Suretyship.
Then further, we adoringly behold on His head, a second crown, as He lies in the manger in David’s city, the Crown of Humility. No one ever descended into so profound a depth of lowliness as did Jehovah the Son –
When He left His lofty throne
Stooped to do and die.
Never was He more glorious in the Father’s sight than when He entered upon the pathway of perfect obedience – an obedience even .into death, and that the meritorious death of the cross. This fact is well illustrated by the command which the Father then addressed to the heavenly host. “When He bringeth in the First-begotten into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him” (Heb. 1.6). That commandment was fully, gladly obeyed. For, at the redeemer’s birth a multitude of angels appeared on earth and gave glory to God in the highest. Thus the infinitely Lowly-One was ‘crowned” at the very outset of His saving mission. And that crown of meekness and self-abnegation He never put off throughout the
whole course of His service and vicarious subjection to the law, on behalf of those whom the Father had given into His hands. How lovely it is to our souls, to trace His humble footsteps as He daily fulfilled the Father’s will, both in active service and patient suffering – and all, all for us! It stirs our inmost souls to exclaim, with Samuel Rutherford, “Oh, for a well-tuned harp”.
Then, another glistening crown on the brow of the great Redeemer was that which – though invisible to the eye of man – He wore in Gethsemane and on Calvary. I do not refer to the curse-crown woven by wicked hands in mockery and contempt. That indeed was the only diadem His enemies could discern. But a Crown of Honour was then placed by the hidden hand of Justice on the adorable Sufferer’s head, in recognition of His all-atoning sacrifice. The gift of the soul of the penitent thief in the hour of Christ’s extreme agony was a token of the honour the Father conferred on Him in that awful hour. A moral glory attached to the death of the Lamb of God, the value of which no finite mind can grasp. But the resurrection morning attested it.
Another crown – a Crown of Joy – was then added to Christ’s many crowns when the Father greeted Him at the mouth of the tomb with these welcome words, “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” On His head, – placed there by the hand of Him who for a little moment had, in wrath, forsaken the Church’s Divine Substitute, – rested the promised Crown of Rejoicing – of the joy unspeakable and full of glory. And is it not into fellowship with Him, in that redemption-joy, He bids all His blood-bought ones to enter? “Enter ye into the joy of the Lord.” Yes, He had seen of the travail of His soul, and now, in the exultation begotten of victory, He breaks forth in a strain of infinite satisfaction, “Rejoice with Me;
for I have found my sheep which was lost.” It is here that grace-saved sinners are led into the liberty of their sonship. For, just as Christ, the Head of the Church, was declared with power, to be the Son of God “by the resurrection from the dead”, so His members are, with power, manifested to be “sons of God” through union with Him, as risen. Joy, the joy of the Lord, is the strength of His living people. No spiritual strength is equal to that which arises from a believing apprehension of the blessed truth that Jesus is rejoicing in the work of His own hands – over the effectual redemption of His brethren and their reconciliation to God.
Here comes in that wondrous process of crowning and uncrowning. For, while Jesus, in the fulness of His redemption joy, crowns His grace-called ones with the joy of salvation they promptly, gratefully, and adoringly take off their crowns and lay them at His royal footstool. It is of the essence of the worship of God’s saints, whether they serve Him on earth or on high, that they
crown Jesus “Lord of all”. They shrink from the thought of wearing crown in His kingly presence. Their sweetest joy is to sing in perfect unison:
Let crowns of glory wreath the head
Of Him who bore the cross:
He liveth now; He once was dead;
Who died and rose for us.
For us the Saviour died and rose,
For us whom He has saved;
For us, who once appeared His foes,
Whom sin had once enslaved.
Christ, seated at the right hand of the majesty on high “sitteth a king for ever”. The Father’s gladdened heart found free expression at that supreme moment when the earth-rejected Son of Man passed through the everlasting doors to resume the glory which He had before the foundation of the world. “Sit thou at my right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool”. What a crowning was witnessed by cherubim, seraphim, and all the assembled principalities of heaven, when the Ascended One took His seat as “Head over all things to the church which is His body.” Faith can in some faint measure, pierce the veil, and behold her Beloved as He sits, sceptre in hand, upon the throne, and crowned – worthily crowned -with “many crowns”. We magnify His name, and although, looking into ourselves, “We see not yet all things put under Him”, we nevertheless “see Jesus, who, was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour” (Heb. 2.8,9). The Father honoured the Son of Man with a seat at the right hand of the heavenly Majesty, and has glorified Him as Head over all creation. “On His head were many crowns”.