The Crucified King

2019-11-22 – Year C – Christ the King – The Rev. Christopher M. Klukas

Jeremiah 23:1-6; Psalm 46; Colossians 1:11-20; Luke 23:35-43

  • Today we celebrate “Christ the King” Sunday. As Americans, we don’t have much of an appreciation for the role of a King. In fact, you might say that the roots of our nations are decidedly anti-king.
    • Our constitution was set up with a system of checks and balances to make sure that no one person could hold all the power at one time.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail: “I am Arthur, King of the Britons” “King of the what?”
    • This is largely the attitude of our world towards God, but it can also, be our own attitude as Christians much of the time. This is essentially what we do when we say, “Well God, that’s a nice idea but I think I’m going to do it my way instead.”

The Wicked Shepherds

  • Why are we so afraid of Kings? Because they fail us, history has proven it!
    • John Dalberg-Acton, an English Catholic historian, politician, and writer, wrote in the late 1800s “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority.”
  • Look at Jeremiah.
    • Jeremiah lived in some difficult times. King after King and all of them (except Josiah) were wicked. In fact, the whole of the chapter before today’s reading is a prophecy against many of the kings of Judah, especially the sons of Josiah. This is what he refers to in v. 23:1-2
    • “One is impressed with Jeremiah’s raw courage, his capacity for righteous indignation in the presence of entrenched evil, and the clarity of his view of the realities of the present and the glories of the future, read in the light of the divine purpose.”
  • Jeremiah doesn’t just dwell in the negatives of the present day, however, he also holds out a future hope. v.5-6
    • This, of course, refers to Jesus. Jesus was to be a king like no other. And he fulfilled the role perfectly, but in a way no one expected.
  • Listen to vv. 5-6 again as if you knew nothing about this coming King except these words.
    • Would you ever imagine that this King would establish his reign by hanging on a cross?

The True Mission of the Good Shepherd

  • In the Gospel today, Jesus is hanging on the cross. Here his mission is made clear. The inscription on the cross read, “This is the King of the Jews.”
  • As Jesus entered Jerusalem a few days before he died on the cross, he did so not as a victor, but as a competitor entering the fray. Much like his ancestor David on his way to meet Goliath in battle. The victory is won on the cross. Where he took our sins upon himself and suffered the penalty we all deserve.
    • N. T. Wright – “He would be the David for this ultimate Goliath—though with the difference that, since violence and death were themselves the ultimate enemy, this David would win the battle by losing his life, with the four nails of crucifixion and the spear thrust in his side taking the place of the five stones David took for his sling. Jesus’s own mind, heart, and body would be the battlefield on which the final victory would be won…”
  • Death was defeated forever. The chains of sin were broken. God’s people were finally free to be who they were created to be. Children of God.
    • All we need to do is repent and put our faith in him, and he will welcome us just like he welcomed the theif who was hanging on the cross next to him. “you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

Citizens of Christ’s Kingdom

  • Jesus’ Kingship isn’t just for the life to come. If that is what you are waiting for, you are missing out!
    • Jesus wants us to follow him, to listen to him, to give our lives to him, but he won’t make us do it. Jesus is not a tyrant like the rulers of this earth.
  • We have a right to be afraid of earthly kings, but Jesus is a king that will never fail us.
    • Psalm 46 reminds us that in the midst of this troubled world, God is the one rock we can cling to for safety and security. vv. 1-2.
    • His rule is just and perfect, he always has our best interests and the best interests of his kingdom in mind. And one day he will make right all that is broken in this world.
  • Colossians 1:17-20
  • This is our King. He is worthy of all praise. He created us, He won the victory for us, and He reigns forever on high. Won’t you give your all to him?

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