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Christ the King Sunday

 Christ the King Sunday    Jer 23:1-6, Col 1:11-20, Lk 23:33-43

Australia has long identified with the traditions of our British heritage. We are regularly visited by members of the British royal family, usually with great fanfare, as the media follows their every move and public appearance.

With increasing debate on the merits of republicanism, what does a ‘king’ mean to us today? And what comes to mind when we think of Christ as our ‘heavenly king’?

Christians acknowledge Jesus Christ as our heavenly king. If Jesus were to visit us in the flesh today, would he receive a similar fanfare to our British monarch? No doubt there would be riots and protests, along with crowds of eager believers clamouring for a glimpse of our Lord.

And how would Christ come to us? Scripture paints a picture of Jesus’ promised return as a time of fearsome tumult accompanied by terrible signs and confusion.

“Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory” [Mk 13:26].

“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains” [Matt 24:7-8].

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.” [1 Thess 4:16, 17]

So when will this be? Some ponder endlessly on this elusive question. But Jesus admitted that even he doesn’t know when that time might come:  “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” [Matt 24:36]

Today we reflect on Jesus’ threefold office as Prophet, Priest and King. Jesus modelled humility in leadership, and likewise calls us in the ‘in-between times’ to welcome the stranger, feed the hungry, clothe those without, cheer the sick, and put love into action in the here and now as we await with confidence his promised return [1Cor13: 1-13].

 

 

 

COLOSSIANS 1:11-20    11May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

 

LUKE 23:33-43   33When 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.  34Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they cast lots to divide his clothing. 35And 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!’ 36The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’ 38There was also an inscription over him, ‘This is the King of the Jews.’

crucify

39 One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ 40But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ 42Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ 43He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.