Let us pray: Dear Savior, on this glorious day we celebrate Your Kingship, joining the angel choirs and saints in praising You for Your goodness and mercy. May we never tire of Your Lordship over us and continually glory in the fact that You, the King of all Creation, loves us enough to put Your life on the line to save ours. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM THE KING OF KINGS!
TEXT: John 18: 33-37
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
A King? We got rid of kings in America in 1776! Since our nation was founded on anti-king principles, I’ve often wondered how much people grasp of the significance of this Sunday. To enlarge your knowledge and appreciation of the day, let’s take a brief stroll down “leadership lane.”
America is not a democracy. We are a republic. And yes, there is a difference. In a republic the people, the voters, elect others to represent them and both make and enforce laws. In a pure democracy the people, by majority vote, assume those roles. Most people today tout the purity of a democracy. But, history tells us that sin will always raise its head and subvert anything created by man. About 500 BC the Greek city of Athens instituted a democracy. It worked pretty well for them as everyone had a stake in the process of governing. However, they also instituted something called the “ostraca” or ostracism. That is, the mass could vote out any citizen whom they deemed a problem. Soon cliques arose against unpopular people and these were used to get rid of those nagging voices. Eventually, their democracy became a popularity contest and since you cannot make hard choices merely through popularity, the Athens experiment with democracy fell apart. So, our founding fathers who knew this history, set up a republic where everyone would be heard and couldn’t be cast aside.
Of course, the other government model used throughout history is either the “strong man” or dictator format, or the king format which is similar, but distinctive. The strong man form is based on “my way or the highway.” It is based on a cult of personality. But since all men and women die, it is usually followed by turmoil. The king format is similar with a couple of differences. One, often kings were chosen with some sort of religious stamp standing behind them. And two, over time this gave rise to the view that kings were somehow chosen by God and they passed this imprimatur from the Almighty down through their blood lines. Thus the rise of kingly, or noble families. Kings were therefore answerable to no one but themselves and God. And since God often didn’t seem to speak from the heavens, they became all-powerful within their realms. Kings regulated every aspect of a person’s life. When they died, it was almost as if the country died with them. We know from history that some kings were good and some were awful. Most just muddled along as best they could and tried to hold on to power. None of them were perfect.—And that’s why nation-states have gotten rid of kings. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
I’ve always wondered: what if there was a King who would reign with perfect justice, perfect compassion, perfect love and goodwill towards His subjects? What would it be like if the King never taxed His people, but instead paid them? What would it be like if we had a King Who would solve all our problems thus taking all worry off our shoulders? Can you imagine such a life on this earth? Well, imagine it no more! For that is a description of: Christ the King! And so, as we celebrate His reign in our hearts, never forget that:
CHRIST THE KING REIGNS SUPREME!
Our lesson is of Christ before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor. It describes the interchange between them on the day Jesus was put to death, Good Friday. Perhaps the most important saying here is this one: “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
You and I know that Christ is the King of hearts. His reign is spiritual. And since people are both physical beings and spiritual beings at the exact same time, that means that Christ’s reign is our ongoing reality. Pilate, steeped in the Roman idea that earthly existence was it, just could not grasp this concept. And quite frankly, neither can people today.
You see, human kings are ego-centric. Everything is about them. The country exists to serve their whims. The people exist to serve their needs. Everyone else must sacrifice for them. Everyone else must die to protect them. However, Christ our King is totally different then this. Christ is the eternal Son of God. He has no rival. He doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone—including Himself. He is all-powerful. No human, no demon, no force of nature can oppose Him. Nothing is outside of His Lordship. Christ the King is also loving. And so in pure love this King sacrificed everything He had to save His people and establish His kingdom of grace within our hearts. This King suffered and died to save His people. This King poured out His blood to redeem lost souls from eternal death. This King died so that His people might live. This King rose to heaven to prepare a special home for His subjects. And this King still watches over His people, protects and defends them from countless unseen enemies, and bestows blessings upon them every day from His inexhaustible treasury. Finally, this King will never change, or take back any of this labor of grace, or undeserved love, because grace is His very nature.
Pilate personifies the worldly view of power and kingship. Everything is about power and tangible wealth to such people. Just as the ungodly Joseph Stalin once derisively said of the pope of his day: “How many divisions does he have?” Since we still live in this world, it’s easy for us to lapse into similar thoughts.—I’m sick, where’s my King? I’m poor, where’s my King? I’m cold, where’s my King with fuel for the fire? Too often we think of Christ the King in these rather simplistic ways and then we grumble and complain and begin to walk away from Him.
But Christ’s reign doesn’t begin or end with earthly existence. It began in eternity and it will never end. His kingdom is not of this world. It is about saving your soul and preparing You for future glory. It is about taking away your greatest fear: death. It is about giving you eternal life with Him through faith. And it is about standing up for and embracing Divine thoughts, or Divine truths which no human can rob you of. “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.”
Pilate is dead and lies in an unmarked grave. Rome is dead, its power a faint memory. King Henry the 8th is dead and scorned as wife-murderer. Yet, Christ the King Still Reigns Supreme! He’s still taking care of His flock. He still receives their praise for His goodness. And He still hands out that goodness is countless ways—ways that we will shortly celebrate on Thanksgiving Day. Don’t ever forget that ours is a giving King, not a taking one. His earthly death, for us, before Pilate still proclaims that truth and always will. Amen