Sunday, November 20 was Christ the King Sunday. The Scripture lessons were Malachi 3:13-18, Colossians 1:13-20 and Luke 23:27-43. The theme for the day was “Do You See the King?” Pastor Roskowic began his message with a quote from Luther’s Large Catechism as Luther comments on the First Commandment:
A god means that from which we look to for all good and to which we are to take refuge in all distress, so that to have a God is nothing else than to trust and believe Him with whole heart…
Pastor Roskowic then proceeded to explain how the crowd, including the religious leaders or at least the vast majority of the crowd and religious leaders assembled around the cross, failed to see Jesus as King. They failed to see Jesus as the Christ, as the Chosen One of God. They failed to look to Jesus for their good, for their refuge. Rather than trusting and believing in Jesus, they sneered at Jesus and screamed “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One” (Lk 23:35).
These people, many of whom were religious leaders steeped in the Holy Scripture, should have known, they should have recognized Jesus for who He was and is.
John 5:39-40 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
Hebrews 1:1-2 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.
They let their perceived and unscriptural ideas and expectations blind them to the truth. The crowd challenged Jesus to save Himself to show or prove that He was Christ the King.
Jesus chose not to save Himself…
John 10:17-18 “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.”
…in order that He might save others. …in order to save you. … in order to save me.
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
There were two criminals being crucified alongside Jesus. The first to speak was no different than the crowd. In our Gospel lesson we read:
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” (Lk 23:39).
Pastor Roskowic, seeking to bring us to a point of confession, encouraged us to remember and reflect upon ways and times when we have looked to and placed our faith in things other than, or more than, Jesus for our good. …times when we have placed our faith in our government and/or elected officials more than Jesus. …times we placed our faith in our job, bank account and material possessions. …times we have placed our faith in our education, our intellect, or our physical health and capabilities. …times we have placed are faith in colleagues, friends and even family members rather than as Luther said in regard to the first commandment trusting and believing Him with our whole heart.
We take comfort and find assurance in the words of John as he writes:
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 2:1-2 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
We are encouraged by the prophet Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Let us take our cue from the second of the two criminals who in speaking to Jesus simply says “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Lk 23:42). And let us follow the instruction of the writer of Hebrews:
Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
- What does it mean to you to call Jesus your prophet, priest and KING?
- For and in what is Jesus inviting you to trust Him today? …in what trial or problem? …for what mission and ministry calling?
(All passages are taken from the NIV unless otherwise noted – highlights and italics are added)
Chime in with your thoughts and questions in the comment section!