Sermon Illustrations


Two of the greatest love stories ever told. The one, at Camelot; the other, at Calvary. Two of the noblest kings ever to live. The one, King Arthur; the other, King of the Jews. The one is adorned with a jeweled crown; the other, with a crown of thorns.

The comparisons and contrasts between Camelot and Calvary are many, but one scene from Camelot illustrates a great theological dilemma that only the cross could resolve.

Prior to His appointment with destiny on the brow of that fateful hill, Jesus agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane: "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done" (Lk. 22:42).

Understand, on an emotional level, that this is the pleading of a son to his father. If your child came to you in such agony, wouldn’t you do everything within your power to grant the request?

But this Father, this time, didn’t respond as expected. And that’s the theological rub. He denied the request of His Son, His only Son, His beloved Son. In Gethsemane, that Son was asking:

"Is there no other way?"

The Son is betrayed, arrested, deserted, denied, beaten, tried, mocked, and finally crucified. Tacitly, the Father answers:

"No, there is no other way."

But why? Why was there no other way?

We find the answer to that question in a scene from Camelot, where the adulterous relationship between Queen Guenevere and Arthur’s most trusted knight, Sir Lancelot, has divided the Round Table. When the scheming Mordred catches them in a clandestine encounter, Lancelot escapes. Guenevere is not so fortunate. She faces a trial. The jury finds her guilty and sentences her to the flame.

As the day of execution nears, people come from miles around with one question in their minds: Would the king let her die?

Mordred gleefully captures the complexity of Arthur’s predicament:

Arthur! What a magnificent dilemma!

Let her die, your life is over;

Let her live, your life’s a fraud.

Which will it be, Arthur?

Do you kill the queen or kill the law?

Tragically but resolutely, Arthur decides: "Treason has been committed! The jury has ruled! Let justice be done!"

High from the castle window stands Arthur, as Guenevere enters the courtyard. She walks to her unlit stake, where the executioner stands with waiting torch. Arthur turns away, emotion brimming in his eyes.

A herald mounts the tower where Arthur has withdrawn: "The queen is at the stake, Your Majesty. Shall I signal the torch?"

But the king cannot answer.

Arthur’s love for Jenny spills from his broken heart: "I can’t! I can’t! I can’t let her die!"

Seeing Arthur crumble, Mordred relishes the moment: "Well, you’re human after all, aren’t you, Arthur? Human and helpless."

Tragically, Arthur realizes the truth of Mordred’s remark. Being only human, he is indeed helpless. But where this story ends, the greatest story ever told just begins.

Another Execution Scene.

Another time. Another place. Another king.

The setting: A world lies estranged from the God who loves it. Like Genevere, an unfaithful humanity stands guilty and in bondage, awaiting judgment’s torch.

Could God turn His head from the righteous demands of the law and simply excuse the world’s sin? If not, then could He turn His head from the world He loved? Would the king burn Guenevere?

Like the wicked Mordred, Satan must have looked on in delight:

God! What a magnificent dilemma!

Let them die, Your life is...

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