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WHAT KIND OF A KING IS CHRIST?

How many times do we hear people criticize God’s conduct of the universe, or call into question the Divine Royalty of Christ? Most common is the criticism, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?” I’m sure the critic would have done much better – NOT.

In Pilate’s interrogation of Jesus, He set’s Pilate straight, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” The cause of Christ was not victory over the Romans, or the establishment of some utopia, but our salvation from sin, death, and hell. In His mercy He is a most victorious king!

Sermon for the Last Sunday of Endtime, November 22, 2020, Pastor Edward Bryant. Faith & Our Savior Lutheran Churches, Medford & Grants Pass, Oregon.

John 18:33–37 (NKJV)
33 Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”
34 Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?”
35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?”
36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”
37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”
Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
Dear fellow redeemed: Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come.” He began His ministry declaring “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”(Mk 1:15) The phrase “kingdom of God” appears in 398 verses in the NKJV New Testament.

We remember the Magi looking for “the king of the Jews,” and we reflect upon the irony of the kingly entrance of Jesus on Palm Sunday, prophetically described by Zechariah, Zechariah 9:9 (NKJV)

9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you;
He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.

And Jesus speaks clearly about coming into his kingdom and bringing His disciples with Him: Luke 22:29–30 (NKJV) 29 And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

So Jesus doesn’t shy away from declaring His royalty.

So is He king?  Is He YOUR king? We don’t have much to do with kings do we? That could be a reason why we pass lightly over this kingship of Christ. But we should acknowledge that Christ is king. He is the absolute Lord of heaven, the universe, and all authorities on earth (governments); and He is our defender.  When faced by Jesus clear words, we acknowledge Christ as the king that He is, whether other people honor Him or not.  He says, I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world. Yes…

CHRIST IS KING!

  1. A King for a Cause
  2. A King over Rebels
  3. A Triumphant King
  4. A Heavenly King
  1. A King for a Cause

For this cause He came into the world. What cause is that? What was happening as He spoke to Pilate there? As He had told His disciples, Luke 24:7 (NKJV) ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ ” Why? Paul sums it up, Romans 4:25 (NKJV) He was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.

As a king’s vocation is to defend his people from their enemies, Jesus went to war against our sin, our death, and the devil Himself. That is the cause for which He came into the world: He offered up Himself as a ransom for sins and exchanged His innocence for our guilt. He bore witness to the eternal truth, including the truth of the Gospel, so that in His name I can declare to you the forgiveness of all your sins.

This is the great cause in which our heavenly king fought for us and delivered to us righteousness, life, and eternal glory.

2.  A King over Rebels

As we taught you last week, Jesus is absolute king of the universe. In His kingdom of power He holds the whole universe together and charts the course of history.

In the kingdom of grace He atones for the sins of the world and in the kingdom of glory every goodness will be fulfilled. But until judgment day when all will bow before Him, he rules humanity by His word. So, while He poured out undeserved love upon the human race, far from being His dutiful subjects, mankind is stubborn and rebellious, not wanting His rule, His judgment, or even His forgiveness.

We live in an age that despises the truth. Instead of weighing an idea in the scales of truth, it is measured on the scales of expedience. It isn’t whether an idea is true or not, but whether it feels good, fulfills prejudices, or advances an agenda. Slogans and sound-bites are constructed to play to the emotions at the expense of truth, and many is the time that 10 seconds of emotion requires hours of thoughtful analysis to unravel.

Think of the hate that is aimed like a weapon at those who express Christian values, and the name-calling focused on those who confess faith in Christ. “How’s your imaginary sky friend,” is the ignorant cant of unbelief.

I could go on with dozens of examples, but the sum of it all is that this world does not honor our king. His word cuts through human emotion and reveals the flaws in fallen human reason. Jesus declared, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

When people reject that truth they can’t figure out their role in life, whether they are men or women, what is right and what is wrong, whether we should live in families or be wards of the state. They become utterly irrational, blinded by vice and desire. Because God’s word is truth it truly prophesied what is happening now. 2 Timothy 3:1–5 (NKJV)  But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

3.   A Triumphant King

But rest assured that Christ is King! He is king beyond our reckoning, so people of our age dismiss Him. They think of what they would do if they were king over all and then look at Jesus did, and they think He must be a failure as king. This seems to be at least part of what Pilate was driving at when faced with the charge that Jesus claimed to be king. “Some king, if His own people arrested Him and turned Him over to be humiliated and punished!” Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?

But Jesus isn’t that kind of king. Rest assured, if He were there would have been no contest. 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”

Jesus told Peter Matthew 26:52–54 (NKJV) 52 53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”

And why didn’t Jesus fight? Because Jesus wasn’t here to defeat Romans (or Turks or Russians or even ISIS or the corrupt powers of the day).  He came destroy the power of sin and death. 1 Corinthians 15:20–26 (NKJV) 20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.

4.   A Heavenly and Righteous King

Christ is King! He is a heavenly and righteous king. Therefore, His righteousness extends to all: For this cause He came into the world By that I don’t mean that he is some otherworldly irrelevant king.  For we are here today because His kingdom came into this world, and He as king answers our prayer, “Thy Kingdom Come.”

Think what it means to be part of this kingdom, brought about because he came into the world to bring salvation. We are subjects of His kingdom together. By grace, our hope of Heaven and His eternal love is NOT on our getting everything right in life. Some days we are better at it than others, but we always fall short. Our hope is in HIS success as the Lord Our Righteousness.

In the same way, our Christian love for one another doesn’t hinge on our getting everything right. We accept one another by grace. We are dear brothers and sisters together because we are subjects of the king who gives us His righteousness. His righteousness is our through repentant faith.

So,

CHRIST IS KING!

  1. A King for a Cause
  2. A King over Rebels
  3. A Triumphant King
  4. A Heavenly and Eternal King

AMEN.