This Sunday for many is called Christ the King Sunday. As December is rapidly approaching, it really is hard to believe that the Christmas season is once again upon us. If you are following a lectionary, today marks the last day of the Christian year and the beginning of the next, all to be done again, year after year after year. Sure, all these special days are good reminders of what God has done but the reality is nothing is happening in the church, other than repeating rituals and the years going by more rapidly than we would like to admit. All these events in the church really are meaningless celebrations, even though the meaning behind the events celebrated were not meaningless but were supposed to change the world. 1 John 3:8 “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” The power behind those events would have changed the world if the church would have continued to obey God’s word. The church really has no idea of what it means to bow before and submit to our King who is sovereign and reigns forever even though Jesus said Matthew 28:18 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Malachi 1:14 “I am a great king,” says the Lord Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.” Psalm 96:9 “Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth. 10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.” Jesus is not a symbolic king like king Charles, but the King of kings and Lord of lords to whom we are to give our lives to. Serving Jesus requires total commitment, even death. Matthew 16:24 “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” The birth of our king Jesus the Messiah and Jesus resurrecting from the dead are the two big events in the church. Isaiah 7:14 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Matthew 1:21 “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”23 The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). 1 Corinthians 15:3 “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” Even those who do not follow a lectionary, celebrate Christmas and Easter. The other big event was supposed to be Pentecost, the power behind the church, but that day just disappeared into oblivion as Pentecost is not as commercially viable as Christmas, plus you can’t fake that power.
God told His people that their true king was coming. Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” Daniel said Daniel 7:13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’” The angel said to Mary, Luke 1:31 “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: 68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. 69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David 70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), 71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us— 72 to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham: 74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.” Even the magi knew a king was born, as did the Jews. Matthew 2:1 “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him. 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
The Jews did not accept Jesus as their king and refuse to this day to bow before Him. Like the Jews, the church also refuses to submit wholeheartedly to their king and the kingdom does not come near because of their rebellion. If the church would repent, the Kingdom of God would once again come near, and the church would do as Jesus did. Like the Jews, the church also want men and women to lead them. Instead, most bow to a manmade and powerless religion while still calling themselves Christians. Both the Jews and the church are feeling the wrath of God due to their rebellion. The church does not accept Jesus as King, nor believes Revelation 12:10 “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah.” Revelation 11:15 “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” Psalm 103:19 “The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.” This refusal to believe has left the church defeated and desolate.
Every year the lights will go up, Christmas songs will be sung and listened to, and churches will once again focus on the birth of Jesus. Jesus for most is a baby in a manger and not a great king who lives. Peter said Acts 2:32 “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.” Acts 7:55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” The church doesn’t act as if Jesus is alive. They will go through the motions until it’s time to prepare for Easter and before you know it, it will be time to do it all over again. That is a hamster wheel we need to get off, as it is not going anywhere. There is only one way to get off this cycle of ritual and that is to repent and turn from the wicked ways of the church. When we approach God, we are given this this directive. Ecclesiastes 5:1 “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. 2 Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. 4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. 5 It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.” Isaiah shows us the appropriate response when coming before our King, the Lord Almighty. Isaiah 6:1 “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” When Job’s journey of suffering was almost finished, God questioned Job. Job 38:3 “Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.” His response was like Isaiah’s. Job 42:4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Malachi 1:6 “A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the Lord Almighty. 11 My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets.”