“Unto Us a King” Nov. 20, 2022
“Unto Us A King”
Jeremiah 23:1-6/ Luke 1:68-79
If you were wondering About all the hoopla going on today, well, it is Christ the king Sunday. this particular day was commonly called the feast of Christ the King because, after all, the early church was always looking for another reason to have a feast of some sort. Obviously, this was before the invention of the potluck. But I have to say, the feast of Christ the King Is a special day on the church calendar that I really wish could come back into fashion. Think about it: After today we will find ourselves at the beginning of advent which, of course, it’s followed by Christmas and all that that entails. So really, Christ the king Sunday is the kickoff for the entire Christmas season, If we want to use football lingo. This is where the switch gets flipped, where the gates are opened; where the floodwaters bust the levee.
I am glad that we celebrate this day; that we set it apart, Even though we don’t put on a giant feast It’s good to have this day because it sets the tone. It sets the tone by simply reminding us of the countless prophets That came before telling us of the coming of Christ. Just as Jeremiah tells us: the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land likewise we have heard the prophecy of Zechariah who announced: because he has come to help and has delivered his people. He has raised up a mighty savior for us in his servant David’s house, just as he said through the mouths of his holy prophets long ago. He has brought salvation from our enemies. “he has brought salvation from our enemies.” And you know, it is precisely that sort of language that we crave during the Christmas season. ‘hosanna in the highest, savior, Redeemer, Prince of peace, Lord of Lords, and, of course, king of kings.
The problem is to a lot has happened with this king thing over the last 20 centuries, our country was founded on the principle of self governance and on getting rid of the rulership of kings forever. So far, I’d say that we’ve done all right.
My point is That compared to Jesus’ time, Kings aren’t thought of that highly today. In fact we don’t think of them much at all. The one thing that we do know is that for every king down through history that was just and fair, there was a handful of others that left their kingdoms a shambles. Kings could be cruel, kings could be kind of weird. or in the case of King George, kings could be mentally ill and continue to rule.
so yeah, we don’t have much good to say about kings these days, But at the same time throughout history We have craved our kings. A good king can bring people together for a common purpose. A good king can root out corruption and bring justice and fairness back into fashion. A good king could make all the difference; at least we’d like to think so, and that’s been a problem. I mean. For thousands of years we have been elevating men (and women) into positions of power and authority that, let’s face it, very few people can survive. add to that the expectations that were placed upon kings and Queens and it’s Small wonder that so many of them were just bad news. They are after all, only human.
Still, though . we do like our kings. there’s still plenty of folks, evidently, who like having a figurehead to admire and adore and at the same time supply us with a delightful and never ending source of gossip and tabloid journalism from the royal families.
We love the pomp, we love the ceremony, we just love the regalness of it all
So, for today, let’s forget all that we know or think we know about kings and focus instead upon the only king that’s really ever going to matter; and that is our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Christ the King Sunday. If there is a better way to kick off the season of Advent, I don’t know what it is. We’ve heard from Jeremiah who tells us that the Lord will bring up a righteous branch – a shepherd to care for his people.
Likewise Zechariah tells us “ because he has come to help and has delivered his people. He has raised up a mighty savior for us in his servant David’s house,
70 just as he said through the mouths of his holy prophets long ago. He has brought salvation from our enemies and from the power of all those who hate us My only problem here is the language. Zechariah talks of a savior from the House of David who “brings salvation from our enemies and from the power of all those who hate us.” now, if we are to take this statement literally then this sounds like the kind of savior that we might want to have, especially if we have enemies.
Jeremiah, on the other hand, describes Jesus as a shepherd who has come to bring together a flock that has been scattered. he even goes so far as to give our Christ the King the name of ”Our Righteousness,” which is not a very kingly name, if you ask me. I was thinking something more along the lines of “Jesus the Great” or :Christo Magnifico.” but Jeremiah was clear, he was to be called” The Lord is our righteousness.” that is who has been born unto us.
you know, as we drift into the Advent season, we will be calling the Lord Jesus by many names: wonderful. Counselor. everlasting father. the Prince of peace to name a few but I don’t know of any Christmas carols where ‘the Lord is our righteousness’ is the main theme. but here’s the thing: maybe that’s too bad. maybe that’s something we could focus on through the advent season this year.
where is our righteousness? what is our righteousness? where do we turn to seek the ways of righteousness? the answer, of course, is the Lord. And you know what? this is a king I could support. this is a king I could get behind and never falter, This is a king I can trust to the ends of the earth. This is a king that the world has been waiting for. He is our Strength, he is our salvation, he is our righteousness.
the season of Advent Is almost here. Every year we are told that this is a season for waiting. it’s a season of anticipation, and both are true, I suppose. But Advent to me Has always been all about taking the time to marvel At the simple fact that our God came to this earth in the flesh, and the reason we continue to celebrate this birth with such fervor is because we have marveled at this unique king for centuries now, and still can’t help but think that it’s too good to be true. but it is.
it is because unto us is born a king that chose, for the love of us, to give up his life. unto us is born a king that healed the sick, preached to the poor, and changed the world . Unto us is born a king that to save us chose not to save himself. Unto us is born a king that for the love of us chose to answer the jeers and rejection with a promise of salvation. Unto us is born a king that for the love of us, even as he hung on the cross, Jesus promised salvation to a thief who confessed his belief.
So this year Let’s deck the halls, Let’s put up the trees, and let’s sing the carols. But this year I will ask one more thing of you, if I might.
I would ask that you take a moment – no take lots of moments – To marvel at the absolutely incredible fact that our God came to live among us. he came to live among us, And that is so incredibly cool and mind blowing all at the same time. We celebrate this advent season That for the love of us God sent his only son, That whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. We celebrate this season that for the love of us all, our God sent unto us a king That we might judge all other kings forever and ever.
Amen and Shalom.