Summary: Sermon for Christ the King Sunday
Last Sunday in End Times – Christ the King Sunday
Jesus is the King of the Jews
1. He is a king that the world does not recognize
2. He is a king that takes us to paradise
Sermon Text: Luke 23:35-43
The 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.” The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus our Lord;
In the sequence of events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus, from his betrayal by Judas in the garden with a kiss, from the kangaroo court before the high priests Annas and Caiaphas, to his unjust condemnation by the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, to the Roman soldiers who rolled the dice for Jesus’ clothing, it seemed that nothing went right in the divine tragedy played out that day. But finally as the sequence of events which ended in Jesus’ death came to its conclusion, there was one thing that Pilate did get right: That was the message which he caused to be posted on top of the cross. In three languages it read, "This is the king of the Jews." Another Gospel account tells us that when the leaders of the Jews protested, requesting that Pilate change the words to read that Jesus said he was the king of the Jews. Finally, Pilate found a spine. His response to them was, "What I have written, I have written."
Pilate may have written this sign to ridicule the Jewish leaders but in doing so he made a bold statement. Without knowing it Pilate told all who were present at the crucifixion that Jesus is the King of the Jews. He is a king the world does not recognize and he is a king that takes us to paradise.
Today is Christ the King Sunday. It is the last Sunday celebrated in our church year. This is the day where we celebrate the fact that Jesus is our king. He is the ultimate king. He is far above any human authorities, far above any of the other heavenly beings. He rules this universe in an awesome way. But He rules in such an understated way and his time spent on this earth was such a humble act of service that many are unable to or refuse to accept Jesus as their king. Our text today is a perfect example of this.
As Jesus was dying on the cross St. Luke tells us, “The 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.”
The people did not recognize Jesus as their King sent by God. They mocked and insulted him. They challenged him to come down from the cross if he is the Christ, God’s chosen one.
God promised long ago that he would send his people a king who would redeem them. In our Old Testament lesson for today we hear one of God’s promises regarding the king he would send. Jeremiah the prophet writes, “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.”
God’s promise was fulfilled in the bloodied and beaten man that was hanging on the cross but the people did not recognize Jesus as the chosen one of God.
The Roman soldiers and the one of the criminals crucified with him did not recognize Jesus as their king. The joined in with the crowd and mocked Jesus. The Roman soldiers said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” And the criminal said, “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
If there ever was a king that the world did not recognize, it was Jesus. To be treated and convicted like the worst of criminals! To receive the most extreme punishment given out by the government of that day! To have the very people you came to save stand in front of you and hurl insults at you. A true king would never be treated like this.