Pastor Scott Hannon
St. John Lutheran Church, Amherst, NY
“This is your king?!,” the leaders of Jesus’ day asked. “This broken and powerless, pathetic man?”
“If you’re the king,” they sneered at Jesus, “then save yourself.”
The soldiers chimed in, “C’mon, King, climb off that cross.”
Unable to help himself the crucified criminal next to Jesus joined the mockery, “Save yourself and us, you so-called Messiah.”
Save yourself – that’s what kings do. They save themselves. The leaders, the soldiers, the criminals, and the crowd (and maybe even Jesus’ own disciples) they couldn’t figure out why he wouldn’t save himself.
The problem, of course, is that they were confused about the man crucified under that sign: “The King of the Jews.” What they didn’t know was that this king was radically different than the kings of this world.
See, kings in this world like to be served. Christ the King came to serve.
Kings in this world like it when others bow. Christ the King humbles himself.
Kings in this world they ask their people to die for them. Christ the King dies for his people.
Kings in this world demand vengeance. Christ the King demands repentance.
Kings in this world hold grudges. Christ the King forgives even those who killed him.
Kings in this world love power. Christ the King promotes peace.
Kings in this world depend on half-truths. Christ the King is the truth.
Kings in this world save themselves. Christ the King saves us.
This is our King. He is broken that we might be made whole. He is poured out that we might be filled up. He is brought low that we might be lifted. He died that we might live. In his humility, we are exalted.
And so, to those who scoff and sneer, to those who mock and deride, we declare: Yes, this is our King.
And with the repentant thief on the cross we boldly pray, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
In the Way,