Going Deeper 11-22-19

The Gospel for Christ the King Sunday...

Luke 23:33-43  33 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. 34 [Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing."] And they cast lots to divide his clothing. 35 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!" 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37 and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" 38 There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews." 39 One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong." 42 Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." 43 He replied, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

 

How very odd, we may be inclined to think, to have the story of Jesus’ crucifixion at this time of the year.  Especially at this time of the church year, when we are only a week away from the first Sunday of Christmas.  Why would those who put together the 3-year cycle of readings (a.k.a. the “Lectionary” or “Pericopes”) choose this story for this Sunday?  Answer: it’s “CHRIST THE KING SUNDAY.” 

 

Okay… but isn’t there a more ‘kingly’ story than this one, where Jesus hangs dying on a cross?  Isn’t there are story where Jesus exercises His infinite power and is recognized and praised as the King of kings?  The answer to that question is a big, unequivocal “NO!”  For Jesus, His death on the cross was in truth His coronation, the highest point of His mission and ministry.  This is what He came to do.  This is not your typical king.  Jesus is a King who serves, suffers and dies, and as He is dying cries out grace: "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing."

 

This King of all kings wears a crown at His coronation… a horrible crown made not of precious silver or gold and gems, but of thorns.  Those who crown Jesus do not do so with honor and dignity, but with scorn and mocking, driving the thorns into His scalp to add even more agony to the One who had already been whipped and beaten.  This King is being executed using one of the most monstrous forms of execution ever devised.   This “King of the Jews” is clearly different that all other kings, different than all other human leaders.  This King dies as a suffering servant.  And in His dying, King Jesus saves the world!

 

Remember, it was not the nails that held King Jesus to the cross… it was His infinite love for you and for me and for all of God’s children.  What wondrous love is this!?!

 

Hail, King Jesus!!

 

With You in Him,

 

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington, Colorado

 

“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”