In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Growing up in the United States, we have been indoctrinated to reject the idea of kings and queens and royal families. My generation grew up with a series of Saturday morning cartoon shorts called “School House Rock.” One of those episodes, which I admit to enjoying as a child, was entitled “No More Kings,” which summarized American history from the Pilgrims to the Revolution. While entertaining and memorable, it definitely had a purpose of propaganda, teaching that democracy was the only legitimate possibility for our land, and that having a king was
ridiculous, if not oppressive and evil in having his authority.
People often despise those in authority over them, and when they did not choose those in authority, the disdain is even worse. We can be like this with God. Christ is our King. We don’t always appreciate His authority and dominion over us. We want to be our own kings or queens. We want control. We want independence. We are rebels. And that is not good.
Turn from your ways, you rebels! Repent of rejecting your true King. You don’t even have the excuse of the apostle’s generation, who may not have recognized Jesus Christ as King, because He did not look like a king.
Pastor David Tannahill is a friend who was born and raised in Canada. Once in his childhood in the 1960’s, Queen Elizabeth II came to his hometown and Pastor’s mother wanted to be sure he got to see her. They went to the event, and since the queen is not very tall, Mrs. Tannahill lifted her little boy so he could see above the crowd. “Can you see the Queen?” she asked. “No,” he sadly replied.
That evening, they watched the news. “There!” said Mrs. Tannahill, “Didn’t you see the
Queen?” she said, pointing to a lady on the television who had a simple spring dress, a pill box hat, and handbag. “Well yeah, I saw her!” he said,… “That’s the queen?”
The portraits in his school, and other pictures he had seen diplayed the Queen in her regal robes, with crown and scepter, opening parliament, or posing for formal occasions. Amazing pictures and film footage display the glory and beauty of her coronation, with regal ceremony and splendid trappings as she ascended to her throne. But this woman simply looked like someone’s mother! A regular person. Seeing her in person was not what he expected. She did not look powerful or regal or queenly.
Jesus did not appear regal or kingly. In fact, He did not even appear regal or kingly when He was lifted up on His throne! He looked like a wretched and humiliated criminal! Stripped, beaten and whipped mercilessly, the King of the Jews was nailed to His cross. To the naked eye, it seemed like a miserable defeat.
But our Lord loves paradox. Instead of defeat, the execution on that cross played right into God’s hand, becoming His victory over sin, death, and hell! As others scoffed and mocked the Man hanging underneath the sign that read: “The King of the Jews,” the reality was that
Christ was indeed being coroneted. Instead of gold and jewels, piercing thorns served as His crown. In the place of silks and ermine fur to line His royal robes, stripes of blood covered His sacred body. Rather than a splendid chair of gold, a rough, wooden cross was the throne He ascended, and thus the location of the unlikely ceremony.
These sorts of paradox are difficult for the world to grasp. And they are not easy for you or me, either. We see Christ’s body on the cross and we become uncomfortable and uneasy. We often slip into feeling like we’d rather not see it, because it reminds us of our sin and what it took to redeem us. We actually end up finding the image of the crucifix as a turn-off! At those times, are we not shunning the One Crucified? Are we not just like the crowds around who did not want to see Him there – the ones who mocked and wagged their heads at Him?
Repent! The devil and the world have swayed you to believe those lies, and you must stand firm against them. Repent of fearing, or despising, or avoiding the Crucified Jesus – the King.
The Gospel is that Jesus died for you! It’s a good thing! He lovingly and willingly was enthroned on that cross as He purchased and won your salvation. He suffered to gain that
victory over sin, death, and the devil at His coronation on the cross. And He gives us the gift of crucifixes to display the full beauty and splendor of the greatest and truest moment of “God’s Love in Action!”
Our precious Savior who indeed was “God’s Love in Action” on the cross stretches out His arms, pierced with those holy wounds, and embraces you with His Gospel. He gives His royal proclamation that on account of His royal blood, given and shed for you, you are not only “not guilty,” but an heir and member of His royal family! And the King’s Word does what He says.
From His throne He decrees, “It is finished.” And it is so! His work for your forgiveness and
salvation is accomplished, and can never be taken away by any enemy of His kingdom. As our friends in the Roman Church sing: “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again!” This is most certainly true. No one can undo the work of Christ our King.
The pierced side of our triumphant King spills forth water into the cleansing font. Life-giving
blood pours forth from His wounds, and into the precious and sacred cup from which you drink. His Royal Majesty Himself serves you, cleansing you inside and out, and nourishing you to life everlasting.
Now, He has assumed a new throne. He sits on the throne of this altar. In a few moments, there Christ Jesus will sit, in the flesh. Our Lord and God and King coming among His people and giving His Gifts.
So come, dear friends in Christ. Come to Our Lord’s throne. Join Him in His banquet hall as He celebrates His feast of victory with His royal family. Dine at this regal feast as you receive your Coming King! And by our good and gracious King actually entering you, you receive the forgiveness, life and salvation that He brings. You actually eat salvation! For in this meal, He transforms you from a beggarly peasant into a child of God – a prince or princess of heaven! Rejoice, for you are no longer slaves, but you are royal highnesses in His kingdom!