In 1992, Australian Prime Minister, Paul Keating, met the Queen of England. But things went terribly wrong for him when he violated royal etiquette and touched Queen Elizabeth. The British Press had a field day, roasting the Prime Minister for his gaffe, and conferring on him the title: “The Lizard of Oz.”
Several years afterward, Pat and I had the privilege of stopping over in London on the way to Nairobi, Kenya, to teach in a Bible School. One day we went to see Buckingham Palace, one of the residences of Queen Elizabeth. We peered through the wrought-iron fence surrounding it and watched the pageantry of the changing of the Palace Guard. But the queen must not have known we were in town, because she did not invite us for tea.
Looking back, it is a good thing the queen was busy with other things that day, because we had no idea of the protocol for meeting royalty. If we had met her, we probably would have made “The Lizard of Oz” look good.
The official protocol for approaching royalty includes things like: 1) Not initiating a handshake or touching the queen; 2) Bowing your head or doing a curtsy when introduced; 3) Only addressing her as “Her Imperial Majesty, the Queen,” not Liz or Lizzy; 4) Not laughing or making jokes in her presence; 5) Always making eye contact with her when she speaks; And, 6) Never slouching or crossing your arms in her presence.
I doubt that any of us will ever have an audience with royalty—But that is fine, because, through Jesus, we can have an audience with the King of all kings. God is the King over every earthly leader or royal throne.
One of the greatest earthly kings, Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon (605-562 BC), said, “I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” (Daniel 4:34, 35). He concluded: “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride” (verse 37).
So, how would you approach such a great king? One answer is found in Hebrews 10:19, 20: “We have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh.” The primary protocol—the etiquette for an audience with the King—is the blood of Jesus!
What do we need to enter the presence of the King?
FIRST: We need CONFIDENCE—“We have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus” (Hebrews 10:19). This “holy place” speaks of the very presence of God. It pictures the Holy of Holies that was behind the veil that separated it from the Holy Place in the Tabernacle and Temple. This was where God dwelt and met Aaron and later High Priests on the Day of Atonement. Access to this Holy Place was restricted to the High Priest on one day per year.
In the presence of a great King, you would think confidence would be scarce. But standing on the blood of Jesus, you realize you are there by His worth, through His sacrifice, by His grace—So you can have boldness because of His merit, not your own.
SECOND: We need ACCESS—“By a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh” (verse 20). The believer’s access to God is available by a “new and living way.” We now come to God, not through the old way of dead sacrifices, but through the new way of a living Savior. Jesus initiated for believers a new way to God. That new way was through “the veil, that is, His flesh.”
Mark recorded: “Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed His last. And the veil of the Temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom” (Mark 15:37, 38). When he gave his flesh as a sacrifice, the veil in the Temple, that symbolically barred access to God, was torn completely in two, allowing entrance to the Holy of Holies—God’s presence.
THIRD: We need A MEDIATOR—“And since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near” (verses 21, 22a). We can come into God’s presence because we have a mediator to intercede for us. John wrote, “If anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous; And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world” (1 John 2:1, 2).
When we approach the King, we need someone who can mediate for us in His presence. That is what Jesus does, “For there is one God, and one Mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).
I hope you will seek an audience with the King of kings, and not wait until you are summoned to His presence. Jesus paid the penalty for all your sins and provides access so you can come boldly into the presence of the King, as He also intercedes for your failures. “He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). He—the very King of the universe—invites you to come to Him through faith in His Son.