November 23, 2008: Christ the King Turns Our Reality Upside Down

Let us pray: Dear Savior, on this glorious day we honor You as our Ruler, our King, and our God! We praise You for not sitting back and doing nothing when we rebelled against You and brought sin and death and evil down upon our heads. We praise You for taking on our nature, becoming our Servant, getting Your hands, feet, and entire body dirty with our moral filth—all in order to save and buy back our eternal souls. What love You have for us! Today we honor You for such love and thank You for making us clean in Your sight. Amen

TEXT: Ezekiel 34: 11-16: 23,24

Fellow Redeemed In Christ the King!

Tradition has it that when General Cornwallis surrendered to Washington at Yorktown the British military band played as song entitled: “The World Turned Upside Down.” Well, has our modern world been turned upside down? It certainly seems so. The old, normal way of running an economy—paying your bills, not borrowing more than you can afford to repay, living within your means, and facing up to your creditors if you make bad decisions—that has been replaced by “bailouts.” The careful get punished. The profligate get rewarded.

Currently pirates patrol off the horn of Africa and highjack ships for ransom. We know where they live. We know who they are in many cases. Yet the world’s superpowers seem unwilling or unable to do anything about it. The U.S.S. Constitution down in Charlestown was made famous for wiping out the Barbary Coast pirates around 1800. It sits at the dock today. Its modern sister ships seem impotent against those modern pirates. Meanwhile, it takes a naval ship from India to actually sink one of those pirate mother ships. It’s almost like Gulliver being tied down by the Lilliputians, isn’t it?

Once America had a “can-do” attitude. Now it’s more like: “I’ll get back to you”—but no one ever does. Ah, but One Person does! One Person isn’t afraid to tackle the tough issues of life and get His hands dirty in the process. One Person is willing to put His life on the line for people in need. And that One Person, Jesus Christ, has! Yes,



History repeats itself. The upheavals America is undergoing today and the fear of its citizens is not new. About 600 years before Jesus was born, Israel underwent a similar time. And for them, it was far worse. They literally had their world turned upside down. They lived in the past. They sat back in Jerusalem and enjoyed life imagining their past superpower status under David and Solomon. They paid off their enemies. They ignored the slow disintegration of their power. They ignored moral uprightness, adherence to God’s Word and God’s Ways. They ignored repentance and worship of the King of Kings. And then disaster struck. The unthinkable happened. Their cocoon of unreality was destroyed. Babylon came and enslaved them and carted them off to captivity in modern day Iraq. Ezekiel the prophet was carted off with them. And there in Babylon, enslaved, they mourned over what might have been. Their world was upended.

But in the midst of all this human depression, God caused Ezekiel to write some amazing words of prophecy that came true and remain true today—2600 years later. He gave Ezekiel a truth to ignite faith and uplift hurting souls—a truth which endures forever. When they were under a human king who oppressed them, was far removed from them, had life and death power over them, and didn’t seem to care at all for them, a king who would never dream of even stooping down and touching the dirt in front of them, God sends a message that would turn their reality upside down.

“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them. I will tend them in good pasture. There they will lie down in good grazing land and will feed in a rich pasture. I myself will tend my sheep. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak. I will shepherd the flock with justice. I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them and be their shepherd. I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the Lord have spoken.”


This entire section must have seemed like a dream to them. In their reality no king would ever stoop to assist a slave—much less any god. And yet, here the Lord of Lords says that He will directly involve Himself in caring for His flock. He’ll get dirty and tired for them. He’ll tend to their every need, while ignoring His own. He’ll protect them, even if it means laying down His life for them. God will do this because He loves His sheep. He wants to uplift and honor them. Truly such imagery is world-turning! It is counter to everything we experience in life. And yet, God says it! And He even says that He will take on a new name, the name: David, even though King David has been dead for 400 years! How can this be? What does it all mean?

Well, you know the answer. For here God Almighty promises the Messiah, Jesus Christ. He promises His hurting people that a direct descendant of King David will be born to be their “hands-on” King. He’s promising that Jesus would get down and dirty by taking on our human sin, even death, to save our souls. He’s promising that ultimate deliverance is coming—even to wayward sheep He has to go in search of—that ultimate deliverance being: heaven. Yes, right here we see Christ the King being foretold and described in wonderful words, comforting words.

We may think our modern world is turning up-side down. But what we’re really seeing is more of what the world has always seen—the wages of sin and the death that it brings. However, Christ the King Really Does Turn our Reality Upside Down! He acts contrary to any natural human reaction, suffers for us, dies for us, rises from the grave for us because unlike us, He truly is perfect love in human flesh. And that, my friends, is why Christ the King Sunday is so vital. For it literally turns our world of despair into a reality of eternal comfort because ultimately your King has come, is coming, and will come to uplift you! Yes, Christianity, the worship of our King, turns human reality upside down because it alone brings that most elusive of all emotions: hope that will never disappoint. Amen