11/26/06, Christ the King, B
“King of Kings”
33Pilate entered his headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” 35Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 37Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
s it possible that the monarchs of Western Civilization find their kingdoms in the one true King of Kings?
In our text for this Sunday prior to Advent and the preparation for Christmas, we focus on a text which deals with the last hours of Jesus’ life on earth and the terrifying Passion that He was about to endure. Our text is attempting to remind us of the real purpose of His coming, and what his birth, life, death and resurrection would mean to the world, and to each of us personally.
Our text records the private meeting between Jesus and Pilate, the Roman Governor of Palestine. This is the real trial when Pilate must have realized that Jesus would be the one who must die to fulfill the Hebrew Scriptures that he had been studying. Perhaps he had picked up on the thread of references of the coming of the righteous prophet who would willingly lay down his life to make a way for the Jews to find a closer experience than with their somewhat elusive God that they sought. As an educated person Pilate must have read the many stories about Royalty who had died in order to save their subjects. Was Pilate wondering, “If one is to die, this might be the man?” Most agree that the strength of the story that Christians repeat as in the historical event that gave the beginning and continuing sustenance the early believers, soon called Christians. It is not by accident that the monarchs of Europe pay homage to Jesus Christ at the inauguration of their reign. In the current motion picture, “The Queen,” we see a teenage Princess kneeling at the Altar of Westminster Abbey for her investiture as Queen Elizabeth, II. She is also the Head of the Anglican Church. Her husband, Prince Phillip, is a member of the Greek Royal Family, and has gone through a similar pilgrimage and process. In a real sense we could say that the carpenter of Bethlehem has become the “King of Kings.”
However, Jesus explained before Pilate that, “his kingdom was not from this world.” This is how the monarchs of the Christian world see Jesus reign over them and their subjects.
Verse thirty-seven of our text records Jesus saying, “For this I was born, and for this I came into the world.” This is a direct reference to Jesus monarchial nature and that he would be the one who would die to save his people from their sins. Furthermore, even if many of the Jews would offer themselves as a ransom for many, there would not be as clear of an example of God’s love for His people, for all of the rest of the people who would ever live. Is it not true that in our own hearts it has been the vicarious death of Christ that has won us? We are a people of “The greatest Story Ever Told.” Have we not all identified so much with a novel that we have felt ourselves vicariously fanaticizing about living in that make believe place.
I think that the very first motion picture that I saw was when my dear mother took me with her to see this wonderful true story of the life and death of Christ. I was certainly not repelled from the story of Jesus’ death because I had been reared to believe that it was this that made it possible for all little boys and girls, older teens and adults like my parents to live their lives in friendship with the resurrected Christ in the dispensational revelation as the Spirit of God and His only Son.
Were not most of us grasped in a similar manner? Most of us can relate a similar remembrance of how you were brought to Vacation Bible School, Sunday School and to worship where you were taught to love the Christ that died for all.
Yet, there were some children who have heard and believed in their later years. If they have not been afraid or misinformed about the joy and love in Christ, they can hear and believe at any age. We certainly do not have to understand it all, but anybody at any age can hear a story and be enthralled by it. Everybody loves an exciting and compelling tale and don’t we imagine ourselves on Tom Sawyer’s raft.
If not a story, how else would the Holy Spirit have grasped us? What more effective way to communicate than through the medium of the stories of Jesus that we love to hear. And the child princes and princesses are captured by the same compelling stories.
sermon synopsis by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor