Reign of Christ Sunday, November 24, 2019
Sermon: Meeting the King
Scripture: Colossians 1: 15 – 20
Today, in many denominations all around the world, we celebrate what is called The Reign of Christ Sunday. We honour Jesus our King. And what distinguishes this Sunday? Well, today officially ends our church year, and Advent beginning next week, begins our new church year. We begin to mark off the weeks leading up to the birth of Jesus, our King to be born. But today, we celebrate Jesus our King and his ministry and time on earth.
Do we see any references to Jesus as a King in our scriptures? We see him called Teacher, Rabbi, Son of Man, and Messiah, but is there anywhere in our scriptures where Jesus calls himself a King? Yes – in John’s Gospel, there is a passage when Jesus is asked by Pilate if he is a king (John 18). And Jesus says yes, but not of this world. Jesus says: “…my kingdom is not from this world, my kingdom is not from here,” and Pilate asks: “So you are a King?” and Jesus responds: “For this I was born, and for this I came into the world.”
Jesus states that he came from heaven, from God. He says in John chapter 6: “It is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the Bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world….I am the bread of life…For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life…I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh which I will give for the life of the world…Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!” Ascend to where he was before. These are amazing statements Jesus makes! How they must have puzzled those listening to him.
Jesus preaches about the kingdom of God: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come…believe in the good news.” (Mark 1: 14, 15). Jesus is talking about himself – the good news – and the kingdom he is part of. He came to bring us into this kingdom of God. We know this is a spiritual kingdom, and Jesus connects us with Himself and with God through the Spirit. Jesus says: “The words I have spoken to you are spirit,” (John 6: 63). “The Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you,” (John 16: 15).
Many verses in our Bible speak about the kingship and divine nature of Jesus:
– In Revelation we’re told: “From Jesus Christ, the ruler of the kings of the earth…and made us to be a kingdom,” (Revelation 1: 5, 6).
– In Philippians we’re told that Jesus, made in human likeness, is “in very nature God,” and our scriptures say: “Therefore, God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth…”
(Philippians 2: 9, 10).
We read some verses in Colossians this morning: “The Son is the image of the invisible God…in him all things were created – things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…all things have been created through him.” All things created through him? Jesus has created everything? Visible and invisible?
Peter the disciple of Jesus tells us this about Jesus: “He was chosen before the creation of the world…” (1 Peter 1: 20) “…who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand – with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him,” (1 Peter 3: 22). Jesus chosen before the creation of the world? Angels and powers in submission to him?
And Jesus praying for us says: “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world,” John 17: 24. Before the creation of the world.
These are astounding and amazing statements. They aren’t often read in church, or preached about – but here they are. This is our Jesus, the one we picture walking around Galilee, meeting the crowds, healing the sick, eating with outcasts, caring and compassionate wherever he went, and we see him in such ordinary ways. We see him as a human being, just like us. We often picture Jesus meek and mild, taking the insults and abuse from others, slapped and scourged and beaten before he carried his cross, and hanging there to die for us.
This is the One who created all things – in heaven and on earth? This is the One chosen before the creation of the world? This is He who came to us from heaven, dwelt among us, and then returned to heaven where he sits at the right hand of God with all authorities and powers in submission to him?
John the disciple of Jesus tells us: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning,” (John 1: 1).
Jesus says: “You are right in saying I am a king; in fact, for this reason I was born.”
Jesus is the King from the heavenly realms, who came to us, to our world, to be our King. May we bow before him, honour him, exalt him, and pledge our allegiance to him. May we love him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. May we ponder the mysteries of his pre-existence and may we delve into this mystery with him – with his Spirit. “I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you,” (John 14: 18, 20).
We are part of an amazing relationship. We are part of an amazing kingdom. We have an amazing God, and an amazing King in Jesus, God’s Son. In awe, we stand before him. Today we honour The Reign of Christ Sunday, and we honour the majesty, the power and the glory of Jesus our King.