Pentecost Last C Proper 29 Luke 23:33-43 November 24, 2019
Christ the King
Today is Christ the King Sunday. It is the last Sunday of Pentecost. You would think that we would be talking about having a brass band, a parade, balloons and streamers, a great fire works show, and a big banquet.
No, we have a terrible beating for the King, nailing Him to the Cross, insulting Him with a warning sign placed above His head. It makes the crowd wonder is this a King? Is this the Messiah? What a strange way to treat someone so important.
Well this is certainly a different kind of King, a different kind of royalty. Then to add to the confusing spectacle the first words spoken from Jesus on the Cross are: "Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing."
Even in His suffering Jesus asks His Father to forgive His tormentors because they are so ignorant they have no idea what they are doing. A brutal execution that is saved for the very worst criminals was used because they believed it would be a deterrent to crime.
The sign was placed over the head of the victim describing his crime. The sign over Jesus head read, "This is the King of the Jews." The words were meant to be an insult.
It is rather amazing that the full power and majesty and authority of His Kingship is manifested in the powerlessness of the Cross.
So how are we to understand all this? The life and death of Jesus shows a different understanding of power and authority that we never experience here and now in this world. Many of Jesus followers expected Him to reign as a political figure. But Jesus showed then that first and foremost His obedience was to His Father.
Through the pain and suffering of the crucifixion Jesus enters the pain and suffering of our world. With the Cross as His throne Jesus sacrificial life and ministry were radically transformed into the ideal of true kingly power--defined by compassion, forgiveness and the promise of eternal life.
Each Christ the king Sunday we are reminded that the Kingdom of God to which Jesus always pointed--is as fully available now as it was 2000 years ago.
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