The Feast of Christ the King…Series B
Saint Andrew’s EC (November 24th&25th, 2018)
Text: John 18:33-37
Title: Is Christ REALY KING???
Are you the KING of the JEWS???
It’s early morning…the final morning of his life. The air in the room is laced with lamp oil and intense irony. Jesus stands before Pilate…the Roman Procurator of Judea…the most powerful person in Palestine…bound and his cheek puffy from a slap by the High Priest’s guard the night before. And, courtesy of John’s Gospel, we lean in and listen to Pilate’s provocative/probing/penetrating question…like Pilate, we are interested in Jesus’ answer…we too want to know…we need to know…ARE YOU the KING of the JEWS??
It is, of course, a political question…and it is an important question (which is recorded in all four of the NT Gospel accounts of Jesus’ Passion). But today (on this final Sunday of the Church year) as we celebrate the great feast of CHRIST THE KING, it is not the most important question! The most important question for us, today is not the political question (Are You the King of the Jews)…the most important question to be asked and answered is the PERSONALquestion…”Is Christ my King, and is Christ YOUR King…and is Christ the King of this congregation”??
Friends, there is, I think you would agree, a difference…a large and a significant difference between acknowledging that Christ is King and acknowledging that Christ is My King. It is the difference between reading a cookbook and eating a gourmet meal…it is the difference between saying, “I Love You” and acting in a loving way to another human being. And on this Feast of Christ the King, there are two very real and present dangers…dangers which must be avoided. The first danger is the danger of “self-deception”…the danger that I might actually think that because I come to church week after week and sing Crown Him With Many Crowns and enthusiastically acknowledge that Christ IS King (not just of the Church but of the universe), that it automatically means that Christ is MY King. The second danger is like the first, only different…it is the danger that we might make Christ into a kind of “figurehead” king…like Queen Elizabeth II (the longest reigning monarch of Great Britain)…she has the exalted title of Supreme Monarch of the British Empire…she lives in a castle and wears a crown, but ask anyone in Great Britain and they will tell you that Elizabeth II is just a figurehead, and that the real power; the real authority in Great Britain resides not at Buckingham Palace but at #10 Downing Street!
So, how do we avoid these two dangers…the danger of self-deception and the danger of making Christ into a figurehead King? How do you really know if Christ is
King or if someone or something else occupies the throne of your life? The only way I
know to answer that question…the only way I know to determine who or what
occupies the Throne of your life is to examine your personal stewardship of life. First, look at your checkbook (or bank statement) Does a close evaluation of how you allocate your financial resources bear witness to the truth that Christ is King of your life…or does it suggest that someone or something else occupies the Throne of your life? Next look at the way you spend your time (the most precious and “non-renewable” resource that you have. If you take a careful and honest inventory of how you spend your time, would the results bear witness to the truth that Christ is King or would it suggest that someone or something else occupies the Throne of your life? Finally, ask yourself this question, “What is going on in the world today that brings heartache and grief…what is happening today that cause your heart to be broken…to be torn apart?” Are they the same things that caused Jesus’ heart to be broken…things like injustice and the violence of poverty…when poor people were treated with contempt…when the welfare of the most vulnerable: women and children; widows and orphans; refugees; immigrants and exiles; victims of violence and abuse were neglected…when people were systematically fleeced and exploited in the name of religion; people who suffered in body, mind and spirit…and the list goes on and on and on…My friends, you will know in your bones, that Christis King…that he is the sovereign Lord and he unquestioned master of your life, when your heart is broken by the same things which continue to break the heart of Jesus…
So, here is the Good News that we celebrate on this final Sunday of the Church year…on this feast of Christ the King…even when we fail to acknowledge him as King and sovereign Lord…even when we make him into a figurehead king…he is still King of Kings and Lord of Lords…he is a benevolent King…He is a compassionate King…He is a caring King…a king whose only crown was a crown of thorns and whose throne was an old rugged cross…a king who in the end laid down His life for all of his subjects. And here is what we believe…this is what our faith teaches us…one day…one bright and blessed day, every knee shall bow in heaven, on earth and under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father and hi shall reign forever and ever…AMEN, Alleluia!