Christ the King of Kings
Ian started by explaining how we had come to celebrate the King of Kings Sunday.
Pope Pious the 11th in 1925 saw the rise of fascism and emergence of communism and secularism, and he thought, it would be good, against that background, to try and re- establish the Catholic Church’s supremacy, and remind the people of the Catholic Church’s theology of Christ being the king over everything. With these threats of fascism, communism and secularism, he wanted to state the truth that Christ is king over all that.
A bit later on Pope Paul the 6th moved the date, in 1969, from the end of October to the Sunday before Advent to change the emphasis from Jesus being King in the here and now, to emphasis that Jesus isn’t just king of the here and now but he is also the King who is coming back, so he moved the date to just before advent.
At this point this hadn’t had much of an effect on the Protestant church. Then in the late 1980 /1990’s the Catholic and Protestants Churches got together to try to produce a revised common lectionary. This meant that all the Christians were studying the same bits of the bible at roughly the same time cycle.
Then in The Church of England in 2000 produced the book of common worship and put this in to the church calendar. There's a bit on the Church of England website which explains where it fits and why we’ve been celebrating it as the Church of England since the year 2000. The annual cycle of the church calendar now ends with the feast of Christ the King, the year begins with the hope of the coming Messiah and ends with the proclamation of his universal sovereignty. The ascension of Christ has revealed him to be the Lord of earth of heaven and final judgement is one of his proper kingly purposes. After the feast of Christ the king, we then return to the advent theme of judgement, and the cycle begins once more.
The passage about the Triumphal entry to Jerusalem, that we read this morning is normally read at Easter. The crowd were wondering if Jesus could be the next Messiah. Mathew and John refer to a prophecy in Zechariah which points to Jesus the Messiah as a prince of peace. Riding on the colt of a donkey, the smallest thing that could carry a human being, showed that there was no grandeur about Jesus entry into Jerusalem. Jesus wants people to understand that he is not going to be the big, powerful Messiah who will rescue them from the Romans that they expect, but a king who will be a suffering servant, a crucified King to cover our sin.
Ephesians 1:15-23 describes the picture of a powerful King, because God has appointed him to be head over everything. Paul says he asks God that ‘The eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that we may know the hope to which he has called us…’
Acts 1 tells us that he is the ascended King, and he will return.
Colossians 1: 13 -14 reminds us that we are part of God’s kingdom on God’s terms
Matthew 25: 31-46 - This passage about the people being separated like sheep and goats is often read at this time. It challenges us about how we live, and warns us that how we treat others will be noticed and judged by God on the final judgement day. When they are separated he says to those on his right ‘whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ To those on his left he will say‘whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
Advent is a time of preparing for the return of Jesus. Philippians 2:10 - 11 tells us that one day everyone will acknowledge that Jesus is Lord. That will be a good or a painful thing depending on whether we know Jesus or not.
The Queen of this country is more of a figurehead. Monarchs of the past had more power, if a king's wife upset him his wife was beheaded!
Jesus won't be a figurehead, he will be all powerful.
through the cross and resurrection we have the opportunity to come into a relationship with God- a huge privilege.
If Jesus is King of my life what does this look like?
- It should affect what I do
- It should affect where I go
- It should affect where I find my security
- It should affect every part of my life
- It should mean my life is built around God, the big rock and all the other things in my life should fit around God.
Do our lives look different because of our faith in Jesus, and Jesus being king of our lives?