Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christ the King

Today is the last Sunday of the year on the Christian calendar. We have been on a journey with Jesus. We were with Mary and Joseph when he was born. We were with him as he entered the city of Jerusalem on a donkey. We were with him when he was arrested in the garden and tried and beaten and crucified on the cross. We were with Mary when Jesus called her name and revealed that he was indeed risen from the tomb. This year we have been with Jesus every step of the way.

Today as we celebrate Christ the King we find Jesus nailed to the cross with a sign hanging over his head that declares him “The King of the Jews.” And perhaps we are wondering how are we to celebrate our Jesus as our King when he is nailed to the cross between two common criminals as if he himself were a common criminal.

We who have lived in the United States our entire lives can’t comprehend what it’s like to give our allegiance to a king. We find it hard enough to be loyal to those we have just elected into political office. How would it be possible for us to yield to a king?

Christ the King, will he remember us? One of the criminals hanging on a cross beside Jesus asks him to remember him when he came into his kingdom. And we hear Jesus tell him that that very day he will be with him in paradise. The first one to enter heaven where Christ is King is a common criminal. Is there hope for us? If we ask Jesus to remember us will he invite us to join him in paradise?

What are we to do with a Savior who is a King? At first I thought that it would mean submitting to him, to his authority because a king would have dominion over everything. Everything would be under his control. But a friend said that it would be more accurate to say that we would yield to his authority.

So, I had to think about this for a while. If we submit then we defer or consent to abide by the authority of another person. If we yield then we surrender or relinquish control to another. Either way we allow someone else control, either of our lives or our possessions.

Christ is the King. Are we able to let him come into our lives and take control? Are we able to yield to his authority? When he tells us to give up everything of value to us, that we think we can’t possibly live without, are we able to yield to his good judgment for us? The rich young ruler couldn’t do it. At least not right away. The disciples weren’t sure they could do it either. Even though they had given up their jobs to follow this itinerant rabbi all over creation and back to Jerusalem. When they saw him die on that cross they gave up. They forgot all those words that Jesus told them about rebuilding the temple in three days after it had been destroyed.

Things look a lot different when you see your friend nailed to a cross. Everything he said before just kind of goes out of your mind. Christ, the King? He hardly looked like a king as he hung on the cross.

That’s not our image of a king either. A king is supposed to be full of power and strength and be in control. Hanging on the cross, it didn’t look like Jesus was in control. But everything wasn’t what it seemed.

You see, I know that you’ve read ahead and you know what happened later. Jesus defeated death. He rose from the grave. He ascended into heaven and took his rightful position beside God, his Father.

The question for us is do we believe. Will we yield our lives to Him? The King is coming again are we ready to receive him?

I regret not letting Jesus take control of my life sooner. It breaks my heart when I think about how many times I’ve turned my back on him and denied him entry.

Christ is the King you want to take control of your life. He is the One who loves you and cares for you. Today, I pray that you will answer his call to let him be the King. Yield your life to the One who has your best interests at heart.

Go ahead and give him total control. You’ll never be sorry you did.

Hallelujah, Christ is King. Praise the Lord. Amen.

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