The Feast of Christ the King

This Sunday – the Feast of Christ the King, marks the end of the Christian year. It ends in triumph. Not only has Jesus redeemed us from our sins, not only is He risen from the dead, not only has He ascended to the right hand of God but His mission has climaxed in a great finale. It is the celebration of Christ the King – He reigns in victory at the end of time: every issue has been dealt with, every wrong has been made right, every hurt has been healed, every knee bows and every tongue confesses that Jesus is Lord of all.
Of course this has not all yet happened, but we are confident of its eventuality for we are a people of faith. The Kingdom has come – it is now, even though it is not yet. We trust in the Word of God, we know its truth – we know that Christ is King for He is Lord of our lives.
A feature of the sermon texts for this day is the name which is given to Jesus as He takes His place as King of kings and Lord of lords. Jeremiah, in chapter 23 verse 6 says that “the name by which He will be called is ʻThe Lord Our Righteousnessʼ”. Not, ʻthe Lord is our righteousnessʼ for the verb is absent in the Hebrew. His name is Jehovah Tsidkenu – The Lord Our Righteousness. “Righteousness” is not really a good word in the translation but its the closest we can come in English. Directly translated the word means ʻstraightnessʼ in the sense that we would talk of a ʻstraight guyʼ meaning someone who has no hidden agenda, who can be trusted and who is a really good friend. It was used in the context of community where someone promotes the well-being and peace of community. In the context of Jeremiahʼs prophecy we see that Jesus comes into a destroyed and scattered community to bring them back into the place of peace and well-being. And He does it most remarkably at the Cross of Calvary. Between two criminals – a consequence of a destroyed and scattered community – He speaks peace. “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise”. “Paradise” is a Persian word which describes a walled garden – perhaps not unlike our image of the Garden of Eden. The Creator enters into His creation, to restore the lost, to bring back the scattered and to heal those who are wounded. He takes them back to the place of beginnings, before the
mess that it has become. He even brings salvation to those who mock Him about His ability to save Himself. Indeed He is Jehovah Tsidkenu. Our celebration of Christ the King means also that we personally proclaim Jesus as Lord of our life. We yield the struggle to Him, we accept the grace which He gives and we commit ourselves to live the new life of the Spirit. Have you done that? Are you doing that? The outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost (the Jewish Feast of the Harvest) was to empower the followers of Christ to fulfill the mission of Christ. We begin by living our lives differently – no longer under our own steam but in a life entrusted to Jesus. We become, as Paul so eloquently put it, “convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. (Romans 8:38,39)

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