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Christ The King (Ages 9-12): Mission As King

(Begin by reading the Gospel. Sometimes it is good to have someone read it to you. The Word is meant to be heard.)

Next Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent, the first Sunday of our year of worship. That makes this Sunday the last Sunday of the liturgical year. It is a feast day called "Christ the King." Some people think that Christ is just another name for Jesus, but really it is a title. It means "Anointed One"—one who has holy oil poured on their head to show that they are chosen by God for a particular mission. Priests are anointed. Prophets are anointed. Kings are anointed. On the feast of Christ the King, we think about Jesus' mission as King.

Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?”

It is interesting that on the feast of Christ the King, we do not hear about the Resurrection, or Jesus coming again in glory. Instead, we see him arrested, standing before Pontius Pilate, in the hours before he is sentenced to die. He is not begging for his life, nor is he struggling to be free. He is simply having a conversation with Pilate.

Pilate wants him to explain himself, to tell him who he thinks he is and what he has done. But Jesus is not interested in answering these questions. Instead, as always, he points to the Kingdom.

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”

What does he mean his kingdom is not from here? It is not from this world, he says. And yet, when Jesus begins his ministry after his Baptism, he says, "The Kingdom of God has come near." His kingdom may not be from this world, but is it possible that it is in this world?

Who are these followers that Jesus mentions? The Greek word here means "servants." Who are Jesus' servants? Could he mean his disciples? Jesus has said to his disciples that he comes not to be served, but to serve. Well, he is right; the disciples are not fighting to keep him from being handed over. They have been scattered out of fear.

Pilate tries to get the conversation back on track. He is supposed to be discovering if this man is a threat, whether he is a criminal.

Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king.

Again, Jesus is not interested in talking about who he is. Instead, he talks about his mission.

For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

What is the truth? This is what Pilate asks, and what we all must consider. It seems like the truth is that this person whom people thought was a saviour, is just a weak man about to die.

Jesus is a weak man about to die, but that is only the truth we can see. What about the truth we can hear, if we listen to his voice?

...If my kingdom were from this world, my servants would be fighting...

but his servants are scattered...

and he has called his servants, "friends"...

and there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for a friend...

What does the Good Shepherd do when the wolf snatches and scatters the sheep?

He lays down his life for them.

What does a grain of wheat do, if it falls on the ground and dies?

It bears much fruit.

What does the Anointed One do, when he pours out his life in love for his friends, for his enemies, for us?

He becomes the First Born of the Dead.

This is our King. Our big brother. Our friend.

He leads the way, and we listen to his voice.

We have been anointed like him, anointed as priest, prophet, and also as king.

Can we be king, like him?

Can we come to serve and not to be served?

Can we testify to the truth, that God is Love, and Jesus is Risen?

Can we simply have a conversation with someone who is certainly not our friend?

Can we pour out our whole lives in love for our friends, for our enemies, for him?

We can try, each day.

He leads the way, and we listen to his voice.

He is our King. Our big brother. Our friend.

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