Summary: Sermon on the Crucifixition and beginning of Advent sermon is for Christ the King Sunday
Today is a special Sunday for us in the church year. It is Christ the King Sunday. On Christ the King Sunday, we are reminded on the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
As we read in Luke chapter 23 this morning, Jesus was mocked while he was on the cross. The soldiers tried their best to humiliate Jesus, as he hung there.
They even went so far as to hang him in between two thieves. These men were criminals, they deserved to be punished for their crimes, but Jesus was innocent, and yet, he hung on a cross in between them, as if he were the worst criminal of all.
But even though Jesus was going through this horrific event, he still never forgot who he was or what he came to this earth to accomplish. You see, Jesus did not need the soldiers to tell him he was the messiah. The fact of the matter is, Jesus knew who he was. He was the son of God, the messiah. And, he was also a king.
Right after Jesus was placed on the cross, in Luke 23: 34, we read that Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." There is a wonderful message being spoken in those few words. You see, even though he had been beaten, even though he had been mocked, even though he had been ridiculed, he still was carrying out his mission. He loved the people so much that even while he was on that cross, he prayed for them. Jesus prayed for them because he could see what they could not.
Sometimes, that is difficult to do, isn’t it? When a person has hurt you or has done something to you that just pierced your heart, the last thing that you may want to do is pray for them and ask God to forgive them because they really did not know what they were doing. But, because of Jesus Christ, we can do that. Through his love and the forgiveness we have received, we can forgive others, regardless of what they have done to us.
As we read on, we are told that the soldiers gambled for Jesus’ clothes and the leaders were mocking him by saying, “he saved others, let him save himself, if he really in the Messiah”.
The leaders did not understand that Jesus was at that moment, saving the world. Jesus was fulfilling his mission. He was securing the salvation of the world.
As we know, Jesus had never been convicted of any crime. In fact, that is one of the reasons why they hung the sign that said “King of the Jews” above Jesus’ head. The Romans would put signs above a person’s head, letting others know what this person had done in order to deserve being crucified. If someone had committed murder, for example, they would put a sign that said murderer above that person’s head. However, they could not name one single crime Jesus had committed, so basically, “King of the Jews” was the worst thing they could think of to put above his head. They were mocking him with this statement. We know that Pilate had asked the angry crowd several times to tell him what crime Jesus had committed. He wanted them to tell him why they felt Jesus should be crucified, but they could not. Pilate reminded the crowd that even Herod had not been able to find Jesus guilty of anything. Even so, the crowd still wanted Jesus to be crucified. In the end, as we know, Pilate gave in to the crowd’s wishes and gave Jesus to them.
Even the two criminals got involved in this as one of the said to Jesus, “aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal spoke against him and asked him, “Don’t you fear God?” The criminal went on to say that they were getting what they deserved, but Jesus had done nothing wrong. The criminal asked Jesus to remember him when he came in to power.
Jesus was obviously touched by this and he replied, “I promise that today, you will be with me in paradise.”
I can imagine, in spite of being on a cross, the feeling of peace that must have swept through that criminal at that moment, for he was no longer a common criminal. He had just been redeemed by the blood of Jesus, and he would forever more be a child of God.
It did not matter what he had done to get there, his sins were wiped away at that moment because he believed in Jesus. He would spend eternity in the Kingdom of the savior, Jesus Christ.
In Colossians chapter 1, we are told that God’s power will make us patient and strong and able to endure anything and we will be happy.