Published by Jason Taylor on Sun, 24 Nov 2019 10:52

This is the text of a sermon preached by Frankie at Grafham Church on November 24th 2019.

Today is the festival of Christ the King -  But the reading we have just had is hardly about Kingship is it?  A man being crucified as a common criminal. Kings are regal and aloof – the sort of people that come out of their palaces and grace us with their presence. We may get introduced to them at posh events, but you are not expected to have a real conversation with them – you Bow or curtsy when introduced, they say something – and then we may talk back – and that is it. Kings give orders for criminals to be killed – they don’t expect to be crucified themselves.  They make orders and hand them down through their hierarchies – they don’t get down a dirty with the people.

Jesus comes in many contexts - When we think of him on the cross, we think of it in the context of Jesus our saviour and what he did in obedience to God – but not in the context of Christ the King – But Jesus our saviour on the cross is ALSO Christ the King – The thief in the reading recognised that Jesus was King – why else would he say the words – “when you come into YOUR Kingdom”. So in the same way that Jason spoke about God on Bible Sunday last month–this week, I want to look at several of the many ways that we think of Jesus – Jason talked about seven of the multiple ways in which the Bible describes God – In the same way the Bible gives us many names and descriptions to tell us who Jesus is and what He is like – from the Baby that we celebrate at the beginning of the church year – which is just coming up – to Christ the King – which is what we celebrate today.

In our readings today we have heard a passage from  Jeremiah that foretells the Jesus as King - a descendant of David, which shows he is from a Royal family – and also states that Jesus will be the Saviour of Gods people. But there is that bit earlier in the passage about shepherds – Jesus also describes himself as the Good Shepherd. So already in one passage we have Jesus as King, Saviour – and Shepherd. The Bible has so many descriptions of Jesus as well as these and we are familiar with many of them to the extent that if we are not careful, those names just trip off our tongue glibly, and we can lose the real meaning. 

So I just want to look at Jesus using three main descriptions of him – Human Being, Saviour and King

Jesus the Man

When I first became a Christian, Jesus, as a human being, was an easy thing for me to relate to– God the Father, and the Holy Spirit are both a bit more esoteric to a new young Christian. And that is one reason why Jesus came as a man – to get close to us, to be accessible – show us that he can relate to us and care about our individual circumstances. To be our friend – Recently I heard the Bishop of Hull give a talk about friendship. She mentioned in this the verses in the Gospel of John where Jesus says he calls us to be his friends, and that we are no longer just servants. As she said this and I somehow heard it afresh and that idea really came alive for me all over again. Jesus wants to be my friend.   Not so long ago, I was talking to someone recently about how I was having some struggles praying as I kept getting distracted with the things I needed to do that day, And she said to me – don’t you think that God cares just as much about the minutiae of your life as he does about the big things that you are praying about? I often make that mistake - that I shouldn’t bother God with Trivia because there are some seriously BIG things to pray about – But Jesus the man was all about coming and experiencing those minutiae - showing how God cares about those day to day issues in our lives. God wants us to have a relationship with him – and Jesus is the way that he makes himself accessible- because a lot of the stuff that Jason talked about the other week can blow your mind when you really think about it- when we really take God outside that box that we tend to put him into – because that is what we can cope with.  But as Jason also said, it is important that we don’t focus on the human side of Jesus too much. He is so much more than just Jesus the human. Man and Divine

Jesus the Saviour, Messiah 

The Jews were expecting a Messiah – someone to save them – this is all promised not only in Jeremiah, but as will see over the coming weeks during Advent, Isaiah. In those days Kings were kings as often through conquering as by birth right. So the Jews were expecting a warrior King who was going to come and save them from the Romans. Because that is what they thought they needed saving from. I think they had the answer to the wrong question -  what they should have asked is, what does God think we need saving from?  What they actually got was a saviour who came to save us not from others, but from ourselves – our sins – all the stuff WE do.

Jesus the King

Which brings us to Jesus the King...

We often sing, without thinking – that Jesus is Lord overall, Jesus reigns  - the theme of our hymns this morning. But think about what that really means – When Jason was telling us about God, he was explaining that God was sovereign – and Omniscient and Omnipotent.  This is where the mystery of the trinity can kick in – Jesus is part of the three in one God that we worship - which means that he is also sovereign.

They say that with power comes responsibility – we see that in the lives of our Royal Family today. Recently, Gareth Thomas the welsh Rugby player reported that he is HIV positive and one of the things he said in that report was how much the Duke of Sussex had helped him in this.  My first thought on reading this was that I hoped lots of other people had helped and supported him, so why was Prince Harry so important – but it is because of his position, who he is, that mean he can say things and people will take them on board – people will listen to him and report what he says.  He realises this and uses his position to publicise things that he thinks people need to be aware of such as landmines. But was also know from what he has said recently, that despite all his privileges and riches, being who he is has taken its toll on his mental health. So think about Jesus and then multiply this up many, many fold – I won’t put a number on this. Jesus, as King, takes on all the pain and responsibility and takes it to the cross – And He doesn’t break – Even right at the last minute when he is taunted by the other thief – and the temptation to back out must have been at its greatest  - He takes it to the cross obediently – this is the King taking his responsibility to take on everyone’s pain and hurt because he understands that he is the only one that can do that.

Prince of Peace is another royal title that we use to describe Jesus – we use it especially in the run up to Christmas. But if we look around, that really doesn’t seem to have happened yet.

We know that when Jesus comes again – which is what we look forward to today – he will rule ALL the nations and there really will be peace on Earth.  I don’t know how he is going to do that – but I am confident that he will – and the way that he does this will be the right way.  

 We really won’t see all this fully until Jesus comes in Glory  But that is what today and celebrating Christ the King is all about – knowing that one Day Jesus really WILL be seen by all the Earth to be the ruler of Nations and  then there really WILL be peace on Earth. 

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