Throughout history, from Biblical times to our day, a throne has been a representation of power, authority, and rulership. A throne is off limits to the citizens of the king.
Even in the Biblical story of Esther, she risks her life going before the king on behalf of the lives of her people. If King Xerxes did not want to speak to her, he could have her sentenced to death for simply being in his presence without his permission.
In our day, when we hear the word throne, our minds jump to the show, Game of Thrones, which is full of killing and envy for power. Everyone fears the Iron Throne, partly because it is made from pointed swords that look like they’ve been melted together.
Or maybe we think of the Queen of England and Buckingham Palace. It is fun to look at from the outside, but there’s not a way in. No one can just strut up to doors of the palace and be granted access. No. There is a separation of royalty from every day people.
But then you read Hebrews 4:16 which says, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” For some reason, we now have the ability to not only approach the throne, but we can do it in confidence.
Why is that? What has changed?
Well, the verse right before this says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15). As I was reading through this chapter this morning, I couldn’t help but connect the Christmas story with our ability to have access to the throne.
It is through the incarnation, the Son of God becoming a son of man, that we are able to draw near to the throne with confidence. Jesus flipped this all upside down. Because Jesus came in the form of a man, just like us, we have a Savior who can sympathize and empathize with our struggles.
C.S. Lewis put it this way, “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.”
Now the throne of God that may have seemed distant and far away has been brought to us in the form of a baby. This baby would live a human life and be tempted in the same ways that we are tempted, yet without sin. He would then die our death on the cross. And then he would be raised to life and bring us eternal life.
Jesus went from:
Son of God —> son of man
alive —> crucified
dead —> life
cradle —> throne
In all of his work, we now have access to the throne through Christ. The King of Kings took on the humility of a human child in order to give us access to His throne. Full access.
Tim Keller helps us understand it in this way, “The only person who dares wake up a king at 3:00 AM for a glass of water is a child. We have that kind of access.”
Lastly, I think Matt Chandler illustrates this truth perfectly when he shared this in a recent sermon:
Let’s just say we were in London, and we wanted to go meet the queen. We just wanted to hang out with the queen and see her house. We wanted to go up to Buckingham Palace. We’re going to knock on the door and go, “Hey, I would like to see the queen.” Then we’re going to come in and check out all of the rooms in the house, even the secret rooms. We can have full access. We get in one of those weird cabs, and we head over there. Then we kind of knock on the door. They open up the door. I guess it’s a door. I don’t know. They open up the gate or something.
“Can we help you?”
“Yeah, we’re here to see the queen. Also, we would like to check out the palace, maybe even some of the secret rooms in the palace.”
“Who are you?”
“Okay, sir, we’re going to need you to leave the premises immediately.”
Don’t giggle. You’re not getting in. What, are you going to drop your name? “Oh, come on in. Check it out.” No, we’re going to be denied, just categorically denied. “The queen is busy today. No, you can’t look around the palace.” It’s just going to be access denied. Do you know who that was true about at some point also? Kate Middleton. At one point, Kate Middleton, 15 years old, came up and knocked on the gate.
“Hey, I would like to see the queen.”
“Who are you?”
“Kate Middleton. I would also like to see the palace while I’m in there. In fact, I would like full access. I would like to be able to go into every room. I would like no security. I would just like to come in and make myself at home.”
They would have gone, “Little girl, get out of here,” but they don’t say that to her now. Do you know why? Kate’s title is Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge. Now she has full access. When she says, “I want to see the queen.” “Who are you?” Her response is, “I’m with him.” I am the princess married to the prince. I am Her Royal Majesty. I am with him.”
That, “I’m with him,” has moved Kate from, “Who are you? Access denied,” to, “I’m with him,” every door open, full access. The, “I am with him,” has fundamentally changed her access to royalty and to power and to wealth and to all the heart is hungry for. She is now fully accessed because she’s with him.
That is now the church, the Bride of Christ. In the same way that Kate is granted access to the queen or access to Buckingham Palace by saying, “I’m with him,” we get access to the throne of God by saying, “I’m with Him, the baby.”
We now have full access. We can approach the throne of grace through a manger, because of a baby, which was all part of God’s plan.