“This is My King!”

Luke 23:33-43

24 November 2019

the Rev. Todd R. Goddard, Pastor

Rush United Methodist Church

 

Luke 23:33-43

When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing.

And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!”

The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”

One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Prayer.

 

Today is Christ the King Sunday,

The final Sunday of the Liturgical Year.

(from The Christian Year, JCJ Metford)

 

Starting next Sunday,

The First Sunday of Advent,

Our primary Gospel will change

From Luke to Matthew,

With the Gospel of John providing support

Throughout the year.

 

Christ the King,

Also known as the Reign of Christ, was

Formally declared by the

1st General Council of Constantinople, in 381 AD.

 

 

This is the official proclamation from our Church Fathers:

 

“… one like the Son of man was given dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

 

Cyril, the Patriarch of Alexandria,

 

 

wrote about 60 years later,

 

“Christ has dominion over all creatures, …by essence and by nature.” His kingship is founded upon the hypostatic union. “…[T]he Word of God, as consubstantial with the Father, has all things in common with him, and therefore has necessarily supreme and absolute dominion over all things created.”

 

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feast_of_Christ_the_King)

 

In other words,

Because Jesus and the Father are One God, and

Because our heavenly Father is our King,

 

 

Christ is our King

With total dominion over all things.

 

All on earth do dwell, we

Recognize the Sovereignty of Christ, our King,

Submit to the Will of Christ, our King,

Serve the Needs of Christ, our King, and we

Praise Christ, our King.

 

 

Today, we find

 

 

a broken, bloodied pulp

Crucified on a cross,

Looking less like a king,

Much more like a failed, broken man.

As we look up into his sorrowful eyes

We beg the question: What makes Christ our King?

 

What makes Christ our King?

6

 

“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

(23:34)

 

Jesus was crucified at the place called The Skull

Along side two criminals,

and Jesus said,

“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

 

People stood by, watching,

but did nothing.

Jesus said,

“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

 

They cast lots to divide his clothing,

and Jesus said,

“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

 

The leaders of the people scoffed at him,

and Jesus said,

“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

 

The soldiers mocked him with sour wine,

and Jesus said,

“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

 

One of the criminals mocked him,

and Jesus said,

“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

 

Jesus is my King because He forgives my sins,

just as he forgave those who did him such an injustice.

And Jesus forgives your sins, too.

 

 

 

Jesus yielded not to temptation.

 

This wasn’t the first-time Jesus faced temptation.

At the beginning of His ministry,

He was in the wilderness 40 days with the devil,

was tempted 3 times,

but Jesus yielded not to temptation.

 

Today, Jesus was tempted to save himself,

just as the leaders of the people suggested,

but Jesus yielded not to temptation.

 

Jesus was tempted to save himself,

just as the soldiers suggested,

but Jesus yielded not to temptation.

 

Jesus was tempted to save himself and the criminals,

just as the one criminal insulted,

but Jesus yielded not to temptation.

 

Jesus is my King because

He gives me the strength to resist temptation.

Jesus walked in my shoes.

Jesus walks by my side.

He gives me the strength.

And he gives you the strength to resist temptation, too.

 

 

 

Jesus saves those who confess their sins and place their faith in Him:

“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

(23:43)

 

The wasn’t the first-time Jesus brought salvation

to one who confessed his sins and placed their faith in him.

 

Earlier, we heard of Zacchaeus.

“Today salvation has come to this house.”

“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

 

Confess your sins and place your faith in Jesus.

 

A few weeks ago,

we heard about one of 10 people healed of leprosy returned to Jesus to give thanks,

“Get up and go on your way;” Jesus told him,

“Your faith has made you well.”

“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

 

Confess your sins and place your faith in Jesus.

 

And before that, we heard the story of a prodigal son who returned to his father.

“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

 

Confess your sins and place your faith in Jesus.

 

Today, it is a convicted capital criminal,

who confesses his crime to Jesus,

as they were pierced and hung;

crucified side by side.

 

Imagine the faith of the condemned criminal.

He looks over at the nearly dead Jesus

And sees a crown,

Where I would have seen a grave.

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom,” he asked.

Jesus replied “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

 

Jesus is my King because He hears my confessions.

He hears my petitions and answers my prayers.

He saves me into Paradise.

And he can save you, too.

 

 

Kings are empowered by their people.

To what do you ascribe Christ as our King?

I am called to testify to Christ,

To point to Christ,

To proclaim Jesus Christ is my King.

 

 

He is

The one who forgives my sins.

Jesus is

The one who gives me the strength and the ability to resist temptations.

Jesus is

The one who hears my confessions, my petitions, and saves me into Paradise.

 

On this Christ the King Sunday,

I am called to give Jesus thanks;

thanks for these unlimited, unmerited gifts

of forgiveness, strength, and salvation.

Thank you, Jesus.

 

Claim your unlimited, unmerited gift of God’s grace for yourself.

Go forth and witness to what Christ has done for you.

Proclaim his sovereignty!

Give praise and thanks to Christ, our King!

Amen.

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