Christ The King Sunday

2018-11-25 – Year B – Christ the King Sunday – The Rev. Carrie Klukas

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus help us to have kingdom eyes, help us to live lives that focus on the eternity, help us to love others first before ourselves. Help us to live focused on truth. Amen

Happy Christ the King Sunday!!! Today our scriptures paint a gorgeous view of the Lord that we worship and adore and what His kingdom means to us here on earth. We get a snapshot of the heavenly realm, the eternal struggle between evil and good, the humble king Jesus before Pilate, and freedom of our sins given in the work of Christ.

The scriptures once again remind us of who God is and who we are before him. They encourage us to be spurned on towards glory and a holy life.

The Daniel passage gives us a view into the heavenly realm in which there is a battle between heaven and the beasts of hell. The evil beast is slain and the other creatures are stripped of their domain and contained for a season. In our day and time evil sometimes seems to be in charge or in control.

Every other day in the news we hear of evil acts of violence happening to innocent people. It appears to some that evil is reigning, however the truth of the Scriptures is that Jesus has the final say. The evil one will be thrown down and conquered goodness, mercy, and truth shall prevail.

On this side of the cross evil acts will continue to happen but God’s people are called to stand up to evil and violence. God’s people will be called upon to give their lives for the sake of others. In the recent shooting at the Jewish Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pa, which was near and dear to my heart as I lived, worked, and socialized among the people in this community. A man, who happened to be a doctor, outside of the building heard the shooting and since he was a doctor he ran into the shooting in order to help others. He died along with the others and gave his life in order to serve others.

Within this last week a young missionary man of 27 years of age who was well trained to evangelize in difficult areas of Iraq, Afghanistan, and small tribal islands was murdered by a group of tribal leaders. He wanted so dearly for people to hear the message of God’s love, Christ redeeming work of our sins, and to be given a chance at eternal life. This young man lived boldly, shared his faith, and looked to eternity.

While these stories of self sacrifice may seem depressing or difficult to think about in regards to your own life, they are extremely important for us to engage. Each and everyone of us will have moments in our lives when we will be called to stand up for truth, to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of others, and to give very personally.

While the temporal or here and now seems difficult the long term or eternal reward is great. For those of us who love and serve the Lord we will be granted a place in heaven to experience God and to see him face to face.

There any pain, suffering, mental anguish, or heavy heartedness will be washed away and we will know glory, love, and mercy at its finest. In the passage in Daniel we hear, “And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”

The kingdom of God which is one of mercy, love, acceptance, peace, and the washing away of sins is the one that will prevail and last for eternity. Those of you who hear the Gospel message of love may you run to Jesus, claim him as your Lord, and know His good leading. If you don’t know Jesus as your Lord come to one of us, let us teach you about his character. Let us show you his good works. For Jesus longs to care for you, to love you, and to show you the good way to go.

In Psalm 23 which we read today it said, “The Lord is King and has put on glorious apparel; the Lord has put on his apparel and girded himself with strength. He has made the round world so sure that it cannot be moved. Ever since the world began, your throne has been established you are from everlasting.” Putting your faith, trust, and life in Christ’s hands will not be ill spent. You will not be abandoned, forgotten about, or left behind. Though things may seem difficult in your life you will not be forgotten. Much of our lives are marked with periods of suffering, giving up, or living without, while at the time it seems as if you have been abandoned remember that God never leaves you or forsakes you.

Isaiah 49:15-16, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”

Because God is King of kings and Lord of lords you follow the one who made everything and in whom everything exists and He has you written on the palms of his hands. He gives you comfort when you grieve, wisdom when you seek, and light in the midst of darkness.

The Jesus that we follow, the Jesus that we love here at Good Samaritan is portrayed today in the Gospel passage as a sacrificial suffering servant who has a great heart for others even in the midst of great suffering.

Jesus has been bound, questioned, beaten and spat upon and stands before Pontius Pilate. He stands before someone who appears to have all the power, control, and ability to set him free. What would be your response if you were in Jesus’ position? Would you beg, whimper, say whatever you could to get out of the impending suffering? Jesus does none of this but rather engages Pontius Pilate in discussion of his kingdom. Jesus speaks truth and seeks after the heart of Pontius Pilate.

Even when it would appear that Pontius Pilate has all the power Jesus in his suffering, concern, and unashamed truth telling stands true to the work God has for him. Jesus says in the Gospel passage, “In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” Those who follow Jesus learn to hunger and crave truth.

Those who follow Jesus will be strengthened to tell the truth despite what may come. Living in the truth is freeing because we don’t have to keep track of all the lies and deception but rather live transparently.

Jesus could have opted out, he could have called upon the legions of angels to set him free, comfort him, and defeat his enemies. And yet he offered his body and his suffering for the sake of you and me and for all of those who are not here. Jesus’ example of life is meant to be the way that we trod. His example of self sacrificing love and concern for others is meant to be our lives and stories.

The King of kings and Lord of lords came to show us a way of everlasting life, filled with glory, honor, and undeniable awareness of love. When we give our lives, our purpose, our hopes and dreams to this lover of souls then we align ourselves with the greatest and best version of ourselves.

Jesus can grow, expand, and fill our lives with more holy attitudes, more kindness, and more love. He can give us the wisdom we need to lead our lives in the way He would have us go. Today I want to invite you to enter into a deeper level with Jesus. Ask Him where else would he like to go in your heart? What is next for you to learn? When we ask Jesus he will give more of himself to us, teaching us about himself and ourselves as well.

As we walk through difficult seasons or stretches of our lives we can trust that Jesus is there and understands our suffering. Despite being the King of heaven he came down into this earth and experienced the pains and trails of human life. When we suffer we can turn to him and draw near to him and he promises to draw near to us. He can also give us wisdom in our trails as to what he wants us to learn.

A practice I often use when things feel difficult and hard is to sit quietly, open my hands in my lap, and ask God what He wants me to learn. The very act of opening up my hands reminds my mind and body to be open to God. I promise if you continue to come to Jesus and ask Him for wisdom into your life he will come and speak to you.

Jesus longs to be your King of kings and Lord of lords. He longs to gently lead you and show you the way to go. He longs to love you into the kingdom of heaven. All of you are part of a beautiful church family that can reach others with the transforming love of Jesus Christ. Each and everyone of you knows someone who needs to know Jesus and his love. How might God be wanting you to reach those close to our church? How might God be wanting you to care for someone here amongst us? As we give our lives to Jesus, He has beautiful work for each of us meant to make our lives richer and fuller. Every time I let myself care for another person I find great riches in knowing them and loving them. I find my life better and more beautiful. Jesus wants that for you as well.

I want to end today with the words from our first hymn Crown Him King of Kings and Lord of Lords. My prayer for you as you go from this place is to have these words upon your hearts this week. Remember as he reigns in heaven all of his suffering was for something, relieved, and made new, and your life can be made new as well. Sing him praises as you go.

Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne. Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own. Awake my soul and sing of Him who died for thee and hail Him as thy matchless King thru all eternity.

To God be the glory now and forever. Amen

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