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Sermon for Christ the King Sunday
Year C
"We are Gonna See the King?"
Luke 23:33-43
"Christ our King"
Colossians 1:11-20
"It's All About Which King You Serve"
Luke 23:33-43
"We are Gonna See the King?"

Luke 23:33-43

"Soon and very soon we are gonna see the king…". The children of Israel had been promised a king anointed by the Almighty; a Messiah. So for centuries they looked and expected to find one. They looked for a mighty leader who would enforce God's will. They looked for one who would bring peace to the people and to the land. They looked for one who would display the power of God. They looked for one who would lead the people in righteousness.

In response to the promise and the prayers of the people God sent not just a mighty man. God sent His son. But Jesus wasn't what they expected the Messiah to look like. Sure he was spiritual enough. He certainly seemed close to God. He appeared wise. He even displayed the power of God by healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead, feeding the multitudes…

Sure the people needed a messiah to save them from the Romans, from their sicknesses and hunger, and from themselves and their sins. But there were two people in that crowd whose need for deliverance was more immediate than any others there. They had been caught in their sin. All the Bible tells us about them is that they were thieves. We don't know what they stole and what circumstances drove them to the decision to commit a crime. But they were guilty.

Like the people back then people today need a savior. We need someone who can be our deliverer. Like the people back then, we need someone stronger and wiser to bring us peace and guidance. Like them we need someone closer to God to help reconcile us to God. Like them we need someone who can manifest the power of the Almighty in our lives and our world. Like those thieves we are all under a death sentence: the wages of sin is death and we are all sinners. Like them we need someone who can deliver us from that death sentence.

Jesus is the king anointed by God; the Messiah. The question is: Is he your King? The two thieves show us the realism of this question in a microcosm. They were each facing death; a death they justly deserved. They each saw Jesus doing that he was meant to do as the Messiah; being crucified. They both had a choice to make: Do I dismiss Jesus as a great but tragic religious man? Or do I acknowledge him as the Messiah the Son of God?

"Christ Our King"

Colossians 1:11-20

We don't know much about kings. We know the definition but have no experience of them. We have all grown us in a republic or democracy of some kind. To us kings are the characters in fairy tales or stories of long ago and far away. When we think of a monarch we think of the Queen of England. A noble woman to be admired, but she is hardly an example of what monarchs historically have been. A genuine monarchy is something we have no firsthand experience of. As a result we modern people don't really know what we mean when we call Christ our King.

As Christians we are citizens or subjects of the Kingdom of God. In Colossians the Bible tells us that we have been transferred into that kingdom. Before we gave our lives to Christ we were slaves to the powers of evil. But when we accepted Christ he delivered us from that domain. And Christ made us citizens of his kingdom. Just as immigrants become Americans, Jesus swore us in to become citizens of the Kingdom of God.

Christ is our King and the sole governing authority over our lives. But Christ is different from other rulers. In this world power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. So history has shown us that monarchs are often corrupt. They oppress their subjects by laying heavy burdens on them and making unreasonable demands on them. Monarchs in this world distance themselves from their subjects and leave them powerless.

After pointing out that Christ is a loving servant King, Paul goes on. He says, "May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light."(Col. 1:11-12) This is at the beginning of the letter and he is wishing them well. Paul is saying, "May you be strong and may you be able to face life with patient endurance." But that is not all, he is wishing them the kind of endurance that finds joy and a reason to give thanks in the midst of the trials of this life.

Christ Our King. Christ: The only begotten Son of God, God in the flesh, light from light, True God from true God, the author of salvation who was there at the beginning, the Lamb of God who was sacrificed for the sins of the world.

"It's All About Which King You Serve"

Luke 23:33-43

It's all about which King you serve. When my children started school I took a refresher course on the story of the first Thanksgiving. One day Kaitlyn came home from kindergarten and she said, "Guess what we learned about today." Now usually I have to ask her what she learned about and she has to think about it. So I figured that she had learned about dinosaurs or sharks or planets or something else that she finds exciting. So I said, "What did you learn about?"

Which King you choose to serve is important. Is it the kings of this age or the King of Kings? This decision determines how you live your life. It determines whose rules you follow. You will either serve God or Mammon. You can't serve both.

There is a big difference between the way of the kings of this world and the way of the King of Kings. We can see that in the events that were part of Jesus death. When Jesus was being put to death they carried him off and they mocked him. They mocked his apparent lack of power and said, "He saved others but he can't save himself." They stripped him of his clothes and threw dice for them. They offered him vinegar and said, "If you are the King then save yourself." They even treated him as a common criminal and crucified him with common thieves.

You see, it's all about which king you will serve. We can see this even among the thieves. They were both under penalty of death. They both were nailed to crosses. But they both had a choice. Would they serve the king of this world or the King of Kings with their last breath?

That's what Thanksgiving is all about. It is about which King you serve. The first Thanksgiving was about that. It was about a group of people lead by the Spirit into the wilderness to live as they were led by God. It was about people thanking God for the abundant harvest. They could have patted themselves on the back or credited the new farming techniques shared by the Native Americans. But instead they gave God the glory.