Summary: PENTECOST LAST(C)/CHRIST THE KING - Jesus is our King on the cross who is mocked by unbelievers but confessed by believers.
JESUS IS OUR KING ON THE CROSS
Luke 23:35-43 - November 24, 2003
35The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One."
36The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37and said, "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself."
38There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
39One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"
40But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don’t you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."
42Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
43Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
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Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
Where would you look to find a king? It would be quite easy, wouldn’t it? We would try to find a palace. We would try to find a royal throne, and there we possibly would at least find where a king had been or would be from time to time. This morning as believers by God’s grace we look once again to the cross of Christ. There we see on that cross which was the greatest throne of all even though the world would look at it solely as an instrument of torture and death. We know that the cross is more than an instrument of torture and death. It is also a throne of God’s abundant grace.
Pilate came close to the truth when we heard that account in our Gospel lesson (JOHN 18:33-37) this morning. He was worried, of course, that Jesus was a king. Like any other king, Jesus just might come and kick Pilate out of his office. After questioning Him and listening to Jesus describe that He cared little about the kingdom of this world because His kingdom was not of this world. "’You are a king, then!’ said Pilate. Jesus answered, ’You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me’"(JOHN 18:37). This morning we once again get to listen to the truth of Christ and His Words. We get to realize that, yes as we look at the cross, we see and hear once again:
JESUS IS OUR KING ON THE CROSS
I. Jesus is mocked by unbelievers.
II. Jesus is confessed by believers.
I. Jesus is mocked by unbelievers
We know what happened. Jesus was innocent and yet He was put on that cross because the believers did not have backbone to say they were right and the crowd was wrong. They put Him there. Of course, everybody, since Jesus was on the cross and put to death, assumed He was guilty. The people assumed that Jesus was just as bad as the criminals hung on His right and on His left. So we have the reaction of the crowd: 35The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. Those in authority came by and sneered at Jesus. As the leaders sneered at Him or mocked Him, the rest of the people did the same thing. We hear the talk of the crowd, of the soldiers and of the criminals over and over again. What do they say to Jesus? They said, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One." "Christ" was the same word as the Old Testament title - - Messiah which meant "Anointed One."
The crowd looked at Jesus; and as they looked up at the cross, they said, "If the Anointed One was the Messiah, let Him save Himself." We hear that taunt was not uttered just once but many times until finally even the soldiers who were to remain neutral started to chime also. 36The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar. They offered Him cheap wine. It was a wine that they would drink, but not fit for a king. They thought that Jesus was not a king anyway. Then we hear their taunt: "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself." The taunt sounds the same. There is a reason it does, because we are told in the next verse of our text: 38There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Remember Pilate had put that above the head of Jesus to let everybody know who was there. Pilate called Jesus the king of the Jews. It was written in different languages so everyone could read it.