Summary: Using the Nicene Creed (in addition to Luke 23:27-43), we look at Christology and Who Jesus is, how He saves us, and how He and the Father are one. The sermon is Christological in nature, but also looks at the Trinity.
CHRIST THE KING
Stephen H. Becker, M.Div.
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church—Elk Grove, CA
Christ the King Sunday, November 25, 2007
Grace and peace to you my friends, from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ! Today is Christ the King Sunday. Most of us Christians have often heard of Jesus Christ described as King, but why is that? Why is Jesus our King? And, what does it mean to have Jesus as your King? So tonight, let’s take a look at Christology. Now, if you’ve never heard that term before, Christology is not the study of crystals or stars—or both—but rather Christology is a theological word that describes the Person and the Work of Jesus Christ. In fact, some people pronounce it as CHRIST-ology in order to make the word more clear. So as I said, Christology IS the study of the Person and the Work of Jesus Christ. It asks, Who is Jesus? And what makes Jesus our King? What does it mean that He is our King? And finally, and most importantly, how is it that this Person Jesus Christ is the only One Who can save us sinners?
Jesus is our King. He is our redeemer and our Savior, and so let’s get to know Him even better. Let’s take a look at this Person Jesus Christ, our King. And as we do so, let’s invite the Holy Spirit here with us to help us to understand our Savior even more. Let’s open with prayer…
The one criminal hanging on the cross next to Jesus said to the other criminal, “Don’t you fear God?...since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man—Jesus—has done nothing wrong.” Friends, as sinners, we know that our sinful deeds have earned us death, just as they did for those criminals hanging on the cross next to Jesus. But just as the criminal noted, Jesus has done nothing wrong. Why did He have to go to the cross for our sins? Abraham was a faithful servant of God. Why couldn’t the LORD have punished Abraham instead of Jesus? It would have happened almost 2,000 years before Jesus, and so would have saved a lot of time. Or how about Moses, or Noah or Jonah? These were all faithful servants of God, some of whom had one-on-one discussions with the LORD. Yet none of these men took upon themselves the sin of the world. Only Jesus Christ, Only Christ our King, could do it. When we study Christology, not only do we have a better understanding of our Savior, Jesus, Who He is and how He saves us from our sins, but in understanding the Lord, our faith cannot help but to grow grow closer to Jesus. Understanding Who Jesus is, is critical to your faith. In fact, wrongly believing in a different Jesus, like the cults do is faith in nothing, and leads only to death. But understanding the true Son of God is so important, that the early Church immediately began to describe Christ. One of the earliest written descriptions of Christology is something that we Christians know as the Nicene Creed. Here at the contemporary service we typically use the Apostles’ Creed, which is also a wonderful statement of our faith, but tonight, I’d like to go through the Nicene Creed, line by line, in order to understand our Christology…to understand the Person of Jesus Christ. And then, understanding Who Jesus is, we will together have a wonderful, clear picture of our Savior, Christ the King. So in your bulletin, you’ll find an insert that has the Nicene Creed printed on it, if you’d like to follow along.
The first part of the Nicene Creed said, “We believe in God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.” The hallmark of our Christian religion is our faith in ONE God. In describing our God, Moses explains, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!” As Christians, we don’t worship multiple Gods and in fact we know that there is only one God. God Himself, in the first commandment, reiterates this to us. God says, “You shall have no other gods…gods with a little “g,” before me. The Hebrew word translated into English as “one” here in Deuteronomy 6:4 is echad. Its meanings include the number one, but also such associated meanings as “one and the same,” “as one man, together [unified],” “each, every,” “one after another” and “first [in sequence or importance]. ” So as Christians, “we believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.” O.K. great. No argument. We have One God and One God only. But then how does Jesus then fit into this single-God—this monotheistic—faith of ours? This is where it gets interesting and this is where many theological dividing points come up because of people mis-understanding Christology. Jews don’t accept Jesus as God, and some even claim that Christians worship multiple Gods, and that we are poly-theistic, meaning believing in multiple-Gods. The cults, like Jehovah’s witnesses and the Mormons, are most definitely polytheistic because they break apart Jesus from God; they make two gods where there is only One God. We Christians “believe in One God, the Father, the almighty…” Yes, the Father is God. But so is the son. How is that possible? After all, in basic math, certainly, one plus one equals two. But friends, we’re not talking about math or numbers here. We are talking about God.