Our King Is Jesus!

Matthew 27:27-31: "And then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium
and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him.
They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him,
and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head.
They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him.
"Hail, king of the Jews!" They said.
They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.
After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him.
Then they led him away to crucify him
."

Christ is our King.

Some years ago I read a poem by Charles Weede that contrasts Jesus, our King,
with Alexander the great who was king of the great Greek Empire.

The first stanza begins:

"Jesus and Alexander died at thirty-three.
One lived and died for self; one died for you and me.
The Greek died upon a throne; the Jew died on a cross;
One's life a triumph seemed; the other but a loss.

One led vast armies forth; the other walked alone;
One shed a whole world's blood; the other gave his own.
One won the world in life and lost it all in death;
The other lost His life to win the whole world's faith."

Christ is our King – totally different from other kings.

As we study Matthew 27 we will see a crown, a robe, and a throne.

First the crown of Christ.

Crowns serve to identify one as a ruler.
Yet the crown of Christ is far different from the crowns we are accustomed to.
On His crown there were no diamonds, no gold, no jewels, or no velvet inlay.
His crown was a crown of spiked thorns twisted together and driven into the skull
of the bloodied head of Jesus.
What a strange spectacle is this King whom you and I worship.

Born in poverty, this is the King who had to soon afterwards flee for His life to Egypt.
Raised in security, Jesus said at one point that He had no place to lay His head.
When Pilate asked Him, "Are you a king?"

Jesus replied, "My kingdom is not of this world."
Pilate, suitably unimpressed, responded, "You are a king then."
At least Pilate got it right when he posted the notice above the head of Jesus on the cross,
which read, "Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews."

Jesus is our King.

In Colossians Paul tells us that this beaten, bleeding Jesus is the image of the invisible God,
and the firstborn over all creation.
For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

Our King is a king above all kings for He is God Almighty through whom the earth,
universe and all things not only were created, but in whom and through whom all things exist.
That is omnipotent power!

Jesus our King is so powerful that not only does He know what you ate for breakfast – He made breakfast.
Not only does Jesus our King know who you are and where you live,
but also everything you've ever done, said and thought.

Everything!
Does that terrify you?
It should for this King has the power to condemn a person to an eternity of tortuous torment to all
who have broken even one of His laws.
Why would such an all-powerful King submit Himself to suffering so horrible?

"Jesus and Alexander died at thirty-three,
One died in Babylon; and one on Calvary.
One gained all for self; and one Himself He gave.
The one made himself god; the God made Himself less;
The one lived but to blast; the other but to bless.
When died the Greek, forever fell his thrown of swords;
But Jesus died to live forever Lord of Lords."

Christ is our King – and so different from other kings.

Also in Matthew 27 we consider the robe of Christ.

Just as the crown of Christ tells us who He is, the robe of Christ tells us how He came.
A robe is a garment worn by men – it covers flesh and blood.
Jesus wears a royal robe, but it's not a role of purple – the color of royalty.
This role is scarlet -- possibly a regal color, but more likely representative of shame.
It was the role but the soldiers put on Him to mock Him.
Jesus our King is not only Almighty God from eternity, but also true man – our brother.

God has become flesh, born of the Virgin Mary.
Our King has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet He was without sin.
We are accustomed to saying, "been there, done that".
He has been there, and yet He has not done that – there was no sin in His life.
Christ our King knows what it is to be you, and He knows everything about you.

"Jesus and Alexander died at thirty-three,
The Greek made all men slaves; the Jew made all men free.
One built a throne on blood; the other built on love,
The one was born of earth; the other from above;
One won all this earth, to lose all earth and heaven:
The other gave up all, that all to Him be given.
The Greek forever died; the Jew forever lives.
He loses all who gets, and wins all things who gives."

Christ our King – a king so different from other kings.

Now consider the throne of Christ.

Thrones are usually elaborate – inlaid with precious metals to create a dazzling scene.
Thrones are often elevated so petitioners are made low and have to look up to their exalted monarch.
The throne of our King offers a dazzling scene all its own as rough-wooden beams
which holds our suspended and exalted King above the crowd of mocking soldiers, jeering crowds,
and just a few heart, broken mourners.

What a disturbing sight is this bloodied, beaten and dying King whom you and I worship.

Why are we here at the foot of the cross?
This morning we celebrate Christ the King Sunday.
Here we see our King.
Here we see the brutal consequence of sin.
God in His holy justice could not let one single sin go unpunished.
Here Jesus our King suffers for His subjects as their substitute.

It is my failure to love God as He demands that betrayed this King.
It is my discussing stewardship that spit upon His holy face.
It is my lies that tore open His back.
It is my doubts that slapped His face.
It is my greed that cast lots for His clothing.
It is my slander that struck Him on the head again and again and again.
It is my lust that thrust the spear into His side.
It is my innumerable horrible offenses that caused this King to cry,
"My God, my God why have you forsaken me?"

We stand before the cross to consider the horrible results of your sins and mine.
We stand before the cross to marvel at a King's love so amazing, so divine.

Do you think that our King really loves us?
Take a really close look.

See every thorn that punctured His brow.
See every mark of the back-lacerating scourge.
See every hair of His beard ripped from His cheeks.
See every bruise that heavy fists made upon His head.
Christ our King said in all of this, "I love you!"

By every drop of His sinless blood that fell to the ground.
For every breath of pain that Jesus drew upon the cross.
By every beat of His loving, now dying heart.
Christ our King said, "I love you!"

Three days after our King's shameful crucifixion, Jesus rose from the dead in glory,
leaving death behind forever.
He rose and said, "I forgive you of all your sins – you are acquitted – you will live with me in paradise forever!"

Forty days after His resurrection, He ascended higher than the highest heavens to be seated
at the right hand of the omnipotent God.
We have seen that this King who ruled on earth in humility who now governs all things in glorious majesty.
We are now His – now and forever!

Those hands that touched a leper and healed him were nailed to a rough, wooden beam.
Those hands that mixed mud with spit to give a blind man sight were pierced and contorted in pain.
Those hands that blessed and multiplied and distributed a few fish and a couple of loaves
to thousands were nailed to a criminal's cross.

Now our hands are free.
Our hands are free to touch the sick, and to lovingly touch the lives of children and many suffering hearts.
Our hands are free to roll up our sleeves and work – touching lives with the only thing
in this messed up world that matters.

When is the last time your hands became the hands of Jesus?
Are your hands employed full-time in the service of our King or just for our own benefit?

Today, in the total, free and complete forgiveness won at Calvary, we re-commission these hands
to become more familiar with the Bible than we are with the remote control;
more familiar with giving than we are with receiving;
more familiar with reaching out than we are with the insides of our pockets.

Those feet that carried Christ from town to town seeking the lost were bound and nailed to the cross.
Those feet that wandered in the desert were held still on the cross.
Those feet that walked to Jerusalem to die were wet with blood and cramped in torment.
Now our feet are free.

Our feet are free to "go and make disciples of all nations."
Our feet are free to stand up and be our King's witnesses to the ends of the earth.
Our feet are free to cross the street or go next door and invite our neighbors to church.
When was the last time your feet have become the feet of Jesus?

Today, in the total, free and complete forgiveness won at Calvary, we re-commission our feet
to carry Christ our King out of this church and into our mission field.

Somewhere I found these alarming statistics:
Statistically, 95 out of 100 Christians will die without ever telling a single person about Jesus.
Statistically, more than two thirds of the people in our communities do not regularly attend church.
Statistically, two thirds of people who are unchurched do not attend church
because no one has ever invited them.
Statistically, your feet do not have to care you very far – the lost and dying are all around us.
If not you, then who?

It's time for us to change the statistics.

Some years ago in downtown St. Paul. Minnesota, there was a large church
that had once been a busy and active congregation, but had steadily declined over many years.
One night the old church caught on fire.
Before the firemen could extinguish the blaze in the sub-zero temperature
a large part of the church had been burned.

An eight-foot marble statue of Thorvaldsen's "The Appealing Christ" had occupied a central place at the altar.
During the blaze, it had fallen into the basement, but somehow was found to be undamaged.
After the ruins had cooled, the firemen placed the statue of Christ with arms outstretched
on the sidewalk beside the church.
The next morning many people who passed by on their way to work,
most of whom had never noticed the church, let alone been inside of it,
saw the figure of Christ in a gesture of gracious invitation.

Yours are the hands and feet to take Christ out to where the people are.

I say to our brothers and sisters in Christ, Our King will come again.
There will be no more humility.
There will be only awesome majesty.
There will be no more crown of thorns, but many crowns of victory will crown His majestic brow.

Gone will be the robe of shame, and in its place as shall be a robe of perfection and power.
The throne of shame, the cruel cross to which the Lord of life was nailed will be no more.
Instead, a glorious throne shall appear on which the victorious King will pass judgment
upon the inhabitants of heaven and earth.

We shall be judged -- righteous!
Today, our prayer should the that Christ, our King, will use us as His hands and feet so that others
may stand with us in Christ – and give glory to our great God.

"God has no hands but our hands to do his work today;
God has no feet but our feet to lead others in his way;
God has no voice but our voice to tell others how he died;
And, God has no help but our help to lead them to his side."
-- "God Has No Hands" By Annie Johnson Flint

Sermon was adapted from several sources by Dr. Harold L. White