Summary: What difference does Jesus make in our lives? How does God’s love impact our daily lives?
Today is Christ the King Sunday! It’s the day we lift Christ up as our Lord and Savior, our highest good and ultimate goal. But just what do we mean when we say Christ is the “King?” What does the word “King” mean to you?
“Ole’ King Cole Was a Merrie Old Soul,” Nat King Cole, Martin Luther King, Billie Jean King, the King of Pop, Elvis, the King of Rock & Roll, the King of Soul, King Creole, King Midas, the King of Chorales, the King of Queens, A man is king of his own castle, “Lead On, O King Eternal,” The King of Love my Shepherd Is.”
When we think of a king, we thing of someone who is on top of the world, or at least a country, someone with final say and authority. Usually this person is someone of great power or charisma, a person who plays the political cards just right, in order to keep atop the popularity wave. Or, in the case of a cruel and forceful king, we see a ruler who cares little for other people or their opinions, and acts only to ensure their own well being, even to the point of oppressing their subjects.
But Jesus was a different kind of king. He didn’t rule with an iron fist, or cater to the whims of popularity. He didn’t wield control over nations or defeat massive empires. In fact, his kingdom was spread individual by individual, one person at a time. One leper out of ten who acknowledged the giver of the gift of healing, a widow’s son raised to life, a woman freed from hemorrhaging, little children grasped in the Savior’s loving embrace.
So it is with us. Christ has touched our lives, and we have come to know Christ as our king. We have experienced God’s love, and know the joys that come from following Jesus, our Savior and our King. So we proclaim, “Christ is the king!”
But I ask you, “So What?” What does that mean for our lives when we leave this place of worship? What does it matter on Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday that Christ is the King? It’s all well and good for us to proclaim Christ is king when we’re here at church, among the ranks of the faithful, but what happens when we dare to proclaim “Christ is the King” in the company of people who may not agree? What happens when we dare to proclaim “Christ is the King” in the company of people who may not have ever heard about Christ our king, or may not have experienced Christ Jesus in the same way we have? People on the outside of Christianity may say that Christ has little or nothing to do with their lives, but they couldn’t be further from the truth. Christ wants to be king of their lives just as much, if not more so, than he wants to be king of our lives. Recall the parable of the lost sheep. Jesus said to the disciples, “What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.” (Matthew 18:12-14) This just doesn’t make sense to us. Let’s say I found 100 one dollar bills sitting outside on the steps on a windy day. If one blew away, do you think I’d leave the other 99 sitting there so I could track down the last one? No way! I’d grab up the stack as fast as I could, thankful that more didn’t blow away. But not God. For God, the one that is lost becomes more important that the 99 that aren’t lost. This is the nature of Christ who we call King today. Jesus was willing to give of himself, even sacrificing his own life, that not one would be lost. What are we willing to sacrifice, so that not even one will be lost?
We live in a world filled with lost souls, and perhaps the most frightening thing is that many of these people don’t know that they’re lost. Many people, when questioned, would tell you that they believe in “a God,” but are entirely too busy to be burdened if you were to ask them to come to church with you. “Oh, I belong to X- church down the way,” they would tell you, but they couldn’t tell you the last time they actually went to church. These are the people who are Christian, insofar as it suits them. If it will help me, sure I’ll let the church claim me on their annual report. These are the people that Jesus would call rocky ground: “…when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy. But they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.” (Mark 4:16-17) “Christianity is a private thing, between me and God” they might be known to say. One can only guess as to the depth of their faith, and pray that God would move in their hearts and lives.