Submit to Christ The King!

Submit to Christ The King!

Colossians 1:12-20, Luke 23:35-43

We are called to pray that one day we will, in our suffering and in our giving away of ourselves and in our following of the saints and of denying ourselves, we will find ourselves beside Jesus, with Him saying to us very simply, “today you will be with me in paradise”.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Please sit.

Today is the last day in the calendar of the Church, christ the King. Next Sunday is of course the first Sunday of Advent. And we look forward to the incarnation of Jesus, the coming of Jesus in human form. And there will be a nativity here and everything will be focused on Christmas. But at this end of the year, we focus on Jesus as our King. Last year we thought of Jesus as a servant King.

Our Gospel was about when I was hungry, you fed me. When I was thirsty, you gave me water to drink when I was a prisoner and so forth. Servant King.

This year our scripture is about the suffering King. And it is a harder story, it is a harder thing to hear because I think it’s straightforward for us as Christians to see Jesus as the servant King, because we have that in our Gospel all the way through the year – this is what you do if you are a good Christian. You care for your brothers and sisters, you care for anybody in need. There is the image of Jesus.

But to consider the suffering King requires us to think about Jesus and his suffering, but also what we are called to do in mirroring that suffering. I think the most obvious way that we suffer with Jesus is in that dichotomy that sits between being Christian and society.

Outside of being Christian, we face scorn for being Christians because it is so deeply cultural, deeply counter cultural to think about doing something that causes suffering.

Society and Jesus calls us to two very different things and Jesus calls us into suffering.

Society will say to you, follow your heart. Jesus says follow me.

Society says believe in yourself. Jesus says believe in me.

Society says discover yourself. Jesus says deny yourself.

Society says be true to you. Jesus says be true to me.

That is a hard thing to hear, because society continually tells us that these things are good. But as we look to Jesus as King and as we subject ourselves to his authority and his suffering, we have to consider how that works in the real world. And whether or not, in fact, what society is telling us is a good thing is in fact good at all, or whether or not what Jesus is calling us to is the right thing.

Subject yourself to Jesus in his kinghood. Fall to your knees and cry out, all for you, Jesus.

Let Jesus grow in you so that you will join the saints, as St. Paul says in Colossians, as you will join with the saints in the heart of light.

Society lies to us. All of those things that society says to us are lies. Salvation and a good life does not come from us. It comes from God.

And the evidence for that is clear. We’ve had this evidence for the last 2000 years. How can you look at society and say that society is a right and working society?

Follow your heart, sod everybody else.

Believe in yourself. Ignore everybody else.

Discover yourself, always at the cost of others.

Be true to yourself, with your limited experience.

Jesus says follow me. Serve others in my name.

Believe in me. Hear the saint of others and care for them.

Deny yourself. Don’t turn to others. Don’t turn other people into your slaves so that you can have the latest technology or the latest fashion.

Be true to me. Be like the saints and the Christians of the last 2000 years and learn from them. Surely the sum of their experience and knowledge is worth more than what you may come up with in the early hours of the morning.

To put it more succinctly, I think David sums it up very well. I did warn him that I was going to quote him this morning. David sums this up beautifully.

I don’t think many of you have Twitter, but if you have Twitter, put your hands up. I have Twitter.

David is on Twitter. Like David on Twitter, I follow him. Very sensible. And his biography on Twitter, when you click on David, it says “profit from the mistakes of others”. Sums up this beautifully, profit by the mistakes of others.

We have 2000 years of people dedicating their entire lives to finding out what it means to live a good and true and honest life. Contributing to your brothers and sisters around you rather than attempting to pull everything to yourself.

2000 years of lived experience. I think it is a good thing to draw on the experience of those who have gone before us, rather than claiming that we somehow know how everything is going to work because we’ve come up with it. It is the height of arrogance.

And arrogance and pride is the antithesis of what it is to submit yourself totally to Jesus in his kingship.

When we subject ourselves fully to Jesus, we are taken out of the darkness to the end of our days. We are taken out of the darkness and put into the light with Him as his fellow prisoner on the cross was. We are taken out of darkness to experience true freedom and love in this life through service to and in Him.

We are called to pray that one day we will, in our suffering and in our giving away of ourselves and in our following of the saints and of denying ourselves, we will find ourselves beside Jesus, with Him saying to us very simply, “today you will be with me in paradise”.


The Signs