Monday, November 23, 2009

Who Is Christ the King to You?

I think everyone here today is a citizen of the United States of America, a country founded on the principles of a democratic government where the voice of the people could be heard. This country that we are all citizens of places a great deal of importance on individual freedoms. There are very few people living in this part of the world who like to have someone tell them what they should do, whether it’s how to live or what to eat or how to vote or what car they should be driving or what they should believe about God. And so it’s very hard for us to get our heads around the concept of Christ being King of the world let alone our lives.
The problem, I believe, is that if we accept the fact that Christ is King then that means that we would have to live lives that proved that out. People who observe us as we go about our daily tasks would be able to see that we have given our whole allegiance to Jesus the Christ as the King of our lives just by how we behave and act and live.
Today all churches who follow the revised common lectionary observe this Sunday, the last Sunday of the church year before the beginning of Advent, as Christ the King or Reign of Christ Sunday. The scriptures we heard read today reflect the fact that Jesus is the King, and his “king” –dom is not what any other kingdom has ever been like. His kingdom is not of this world, the world we live in.
That’s not to say that his kingdom isn’t here. What it says is his kingdom is not like the world’s idea of a kingdom. This day requires us all to take time to reflect on what that means to all of us who profess to be Christians, followers of Jesus the Christ. Jesus is King, so what’s that mean to you and me?
When Pilate asked Jesus if he was a king he was only concerned for himself. He really wasn’t too worried about Caiphas or the other Jewish leaders. His concern was with Caesar and those under him. If he allowed someone who claimed to be a king to go on speaking of his kingdom here on earth without challenging his kingship then he was in danger of losing control of his little corner in the world in Palestine. And then what would he do and who would he be? That was a real worry for Pilate. It was a major concern for the Sanhedrin too. If Jesus was the King and they didn’t challenge him, then they would have to relinquish some of their control in the Temple. Their lives would change drastically and they weren’t about to let that happen. Both Pilate and the Sanhedrin had too much invested in their power to concede the control to Jesus. Their sense of security was definitely threatened by Jesus’ claim to be the Messiah, the King.
Isn’t it interesting that the Jews had been waiting for an eternity for the Messiah? They wanted the Messiah to come so that their kingdom could be restored. If only he would come and kick out these Roman oppressors and establish a kingdom that would surpass David’s and be even richer than Solomon’s.
But when we read the gospels Jesus, the Son of Man, the Son of God, isn’t anything like that at all. This King asked his disciples and he asks us to pick up his yoke, the cross, and follow him. Along with the rich young man who came to Jesus asking how he could be certain that he would secure eternal life we are told to give up everything we hold dear and follow him, follow Jesus. And friends, admit it that scares a whole lot of people. Give up control and trust in God, how could we possibly do that?
If we’re struggling with giving our all to God and trusting in his providence then can we truly say that Jesus is King of our lives? We celebrate Christ as our King but how is he the King of our lives?
Good friends, none of us, no one is perfect. None of us gets this right. The thing is we need to be reminded at least once a year who we owe our allegiance to, Jesus the Christ, the King. We have grown up with the idea that we are each responsible for our own welfare. That’s how most of us have lived. We got our education, we sought jobs that would provide a good income, and we made decisions for ourselves that would provide some amount of security for us as we grew older. And so it’s very difficult for us to let go of all that and let God have control. But he is the King. He is in control, whether we admit it, whether we live as if that’s true or not.
The whole gospel of John validates Jesus as Christ the King. So today, friends, I pray that you would re-dedicate your lives to the one who is truly the King of your lives. Let go of all the old baggage you carry with you and begin the new church year as a new person, a child of God who worships Christ as the King of your life. Let go of it all and unlock the padlocks the world has put on the chains that keep you bound to it.
Let’s all make the commitment to follow Jesus the King and live our lives as the new people God has planned for us to be.
What’s that mean? Friends, I believe it means that we begin to live as people who truly want to serve, service to God and to those he brings to our doors. It means that we trust God through Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit to provide everything we need to be of service to Christ’s kingdom here on earth.
Its hard work, but its work that is worthy of those who love and serve the Lord.
Friends, God loves you and so do I. Thanks be to God for his Son, Jesus Christ the King. Amen.

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