Summary: Christmas is about Jesus - but why is he different to all those who have gone before him. One of those difference lies in the nature of those in His Kingdom

TSJ Sermon

With Christmas just around the corner I wanted to ask the question on Christ the King Sunday

Why is Christmas so special?

What is there about Jesus Christ that marks him out as being different from all the other babies born in Israel 2000 years ago?

I’d like to read you a little piece written by an unknown author called One Solitary Life

He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman.He grew up in still another village, where he worked in a carpenter’s shop until he was thirty. Then for three years he was an itinerant preacher.He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a house. He did not go to college. He never visited a big city. He never travelled two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He did none of the things associated with greatness.

He had no credentials but himself.He was only thirty three years of age when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen centuries have come and gone and today he remains the central figure of the human race, and the leader of mankind’s progress. All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together have not affected the life of man on this planet so much as that one solitary life.

There is no getting away from it - the central figure of Christmas has to be Jesus Christ

In human terms, he didn’t do any of the things associated with greatness.

When Mohammed – the founder of Islam died – he left a book – the Koran –with all his teaching in – and an army in place to propogate his teaching

When the Buddha died, his supporters who propagated Buddhism were the nobility of Nepal and they set about continuing the work he had started.

Jesus on the other did none of the things associated with greatness. Indeed quite the opposite.

He wrote no book

He had no army

He enraged this nobility of Israel against him to such an extent that they stirred up the Romans to execute him.

And when he died, his followers were scattered.

And that should have been the end of it – but it wasn’t

Has it to do with who Jesus really was – and is – The son of God?

Has it to do with His mission here on earth?

Yes there is, of course, some good ethical teaching in Jesus words – but His real mission was to reconcile us to God

St Paul put it very well when he said this – and this went on to become the earliest known Christian Creed.

Speaking about Jesus, Paul wrote:

6 Who, being in very nature God,

did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

7 rather, he made himself nothing

by taking the very nature of a servant,

being made in human likeness.

8 And being found in appearance as a man,

he humbled himself

by becoming obedient to death—

even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place

and gave him the name that is above every name,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Today is “Christ the King” Sunday, the last Sunday before Advent.

A day when we reflect on that the Kingship of Christ means

And I think there is one other special area in which His Kingship is different.

And that is this

His followers will be changed people

Jesus put it well when he said, in our Gospel reading, this about his followers (the people on God’s right hand in the story)

34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, ’Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

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