Summary: Sermon for Christ The King Sunday, Year B. 2012
John 18: 33 – 37 / King Or Not
Intro: A story is told of a king of one of the monarchies in Europe. On a trip through his kingdom, the king decided to spend one Sunday in church. He went to a small church alone and sat quietly as he began to pray. A woman interrupted the king’s prayers claiming that he was occupying her seat and asked him to please move somewhere else. He quietly moved to another pew without saying a word. At the end of the service the minister announced the presence of the king. That woman must have felt really embarrassed not because she did not recognize the king; but, because of the way she treated him. Many behave the same way when relating to Christ. They not only fail to recognize him as King but often treat Him with disrespect.
I. 1925 was a dark time for the world. Even though the world has just emerged from the war to end all wars, it was apparent that the world was hurtling towards another was.
A. The world was watching, waiting for answers, and listening to powerful men like Adolf Hitler whose Nazi party was rapidly growing in popularity.
B. As the world headed toward financial collapse and political upheaval, Pope Pius XI issued a Papal encyclical on Dec. 11th declaring “The Feast of Christ The King” which we, along with many of our protestant brothers and sisters, celebrate today.
C. Pius was concerned because it appeared that people were turning away from the rule of Christ in their lives believing there was no place for spirituality to guide or direct human decisions or determining more values.
Ii. What we see in this passage from John is 2 kings: 2 competing kingdoms and 2 contrasting type of power.
A. We have Pilate, the institutional authority, whose power resides in the army that stands behind him. This power comes from the top down. Mao Tse-tung said, “Power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”
B. Jesus, however, has a different type of power. It comes from the bottom up. It’s a power that is not imposed on anyone, but a power that people give.
C. Charismatic power is the only real sort of authority since the power that grows out of the barrel of a gun only lasts as long as you’re holding the gun. You put it down and the power is gone, because it was never really there in the first place.
III. Our world seems to be sinking into increasing global violence. On Christ the King Sunday, as we begin our journey to the manger, we must ask ourselves, “Who is the king of our lives?”
A. VSS. 36 – 37 – Jesus said, My kingdom is not of this world. It it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” You are a king, then! Said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
B. What is the truth to which Christ Jesus calls us? The truth is that Jesus is the king of the upside-down kingdom: where little children are valued , where might and money mean nothing in terms of a person’s value, where the weak are not despised but love, and where 99 sheep are left on the hillside while attention is given to the one who strays.