There are few symbols more potent than a crown. A crown on the head of a king stands for his power and prestige; it suggests authority and strength.
That is also how the Israelites looked at their king and his crown: this was their ruler, their lord. In Psalm 21 the people are praising God for answering the king’s prayers, for He has granted him long life and success in battle.
And amidst Israel’s praise, this was yet another powerful statement of the LORD’s favour on their king (v. 3):
You set a crown of fine gold upon his head.
Like today, a crown back then was a fancy ornament made of gold and precious stones, and worn on the head as symbolic of royal rank.
Seeing the crown on their king’s head, the people praised God for his goodness toward him. The king was greatly blessed by the LORD, and this meant they were greatly blessed. Through the king’s faithful rule, the people were happy and secure.
We have a king too, but not from the house of Windsor. Our king is from the house of David, and right now He is in heaven ruling all things, wearing a glorious crown.
Yet before Jesus could be enthroned above, he had to wear a different crown. It was a crown made of thorns, a crown that was beaten into his head with sticks (Mark 15:17-19). This was part of his deep humiliation as Jesus suffered for our sin.
With a crude crown and a borrowed robe and a rough staff, he was mocked as an imitation king. Later, He was even crucified with this charge: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews” (Matt 27:37).
That he was a king was truer than anyone knew.
Even so, that cruel crown and horrific death were not enough to break his loyalty to the Father and his people.
And so today the resurrected and ascended Christ wears a crown of glory. Revelation 19:12 says that “His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems.” This is the King of kings and Lord of lords, who has conquered his enemies by his might and who has saved his people by his sacrifice.
Let us bow before our great King, giving him our worship.
And let us enjoy the security of his perfect rule, knowing that Christ governs all things for us from his heavenly throne!