Jesus Christ Is Lord

Pastor Rachel B. Livingston

I. Beginnings

All Hail the Power of Jesus name, let angels prostrate fall, because Jesus Christ is Lord of all.  Because of Christ’s majesty, let us all proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, that Jesus is sovereign over all the earth.  Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth, that means you, and you, and you, and me too, let us all worship the Lord.  Worship the Lord with gladness; come into God’s presence with singing.  Let us worship our Lord Jesus Christ, who offered himself up as a living sacrifice.  The one who endured the lashes, the bruises, as he faced Pontius Pilate – the one who endured being mocked and spat at – the one who bent over struggling and had to carry his cross until he was relieved of it – the one who was stretched out on a cross, stretched so wide that he had to push himself up in agony, just so that he might breathe – the one who endured so much pain that he wailed in anguish – the one who hung his head and died – the one who in death paid a price for our sin that reconciled us back to God and on the third day rose from the dead that we might find new life.  It was Christ who took an earthly symbol that represented death and defeat and used it to proclaim his reign as the salvific King of the whole world.  And just as a phoenix is able to rise from its ashes, Jesus was able to take what the world saw as destruction and turn it into victory and new life. Let us proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord over our lives.  For we know that the Lord is God.  It is God that made us, and we are God’s, we are God’s people, and the sheep of God’s pasture. It is on this this day that we proclaim to all the world that Jesus Christ is Lord! 

 II. Christ The King

I’m sure by now you may have realized that the theme of today’s service is stating the profound yet simple message that Jesus Christ is Lord.  In this we proclaim that Christ is sovereign, Christ reigns with justice, and Christ loves us and all people unconditionally.  Today is Christ the King Sunday, the day on the Christian Calendar, that we lift-up the reign of Jesus Christ.  The last Sunday, within the Christian year, before we start a new year as we begin advent. Advent is the time where we wait on the coming of the Lord.  We wait within the story of the Christmas season, so we wait symbolically.  We wait as we wait for Christ to dwell with us in this moment, so we wait in a metaphorical and quite spiritual sense. And finally, we wait as we wait for the return of Christ, which is our waiting in a very literal sense. 
This is the anticipation of what begins next week, but THIS SUNDAY, this beloved Sunday, we celebrate the reign of Jesus Christ. I will admit that I genuinely enjoy Christ the King Sunday because it centers us back on the foundation of our faith, our messiah, the one who became a living sacrifice for each of us, the one we claim as Lord over our lives.  It centers us back to the cornerstone of our faith, reminding us that the stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.  The rest of the world may claim other things to be their god, but we as the people of God, stand in clarity that not only if Jesus Christ our God, but that he has claimed us through his own self sacrifice and has transformed our very being.

 III. The Parable Of The Sheep and Goats

Our scripture this morning continues in on this same theme.  I will admit that the royalty of Jesus within this scripture may not stand out as the most apparent theme, but as we dig deeper we are able to see what the implication of Christ’s sovereignty means for the followers of Jesus Christ. This scripture follows the parable that we dove into last week.  This is the third parable, told by our Lord Jesus Christ within this chapter, that discusses an eschatological reality, informing of what is to come in the end of time when we stand in judgement before God.  But as we contemplate on what it means to be judged with favor, to be deemed a faithful servant that has made Jesus Christ the head of our lives, our scripture show us what that really means for the context of our lives.

As Jesus stands in glory, he brings all people before him: Jew and Gentile, man and woman, people from all walks of life, standing before Christ in the moment of judgement. And as Jesus stands as King, he divides the crowd and sets them into two groups. To one group Christ tells them that they have inherited the kingdom, because they have taken care of him in his time of need,  and to the other group he casts them out into eternal punishment, because they have not helped him in the time of need.  Both groups seemed to be confused because they don’t remember the time that they have seen Jesus hungry or thirsty; as a stranger or naked, needing clothes; they don’t remember him being sick or imprisoned – they cannot recall ever seeing Jesus in these predicaments, and yet they are being judged with blessing or curse because of it.  Surely if they had seen Christ in any of these situations, they would have treated him with care, with respect, with loyalty that shows he is indeed the King. Because I am sure that all those who gathered, would have proclaimed that Jesus Christ is King.  But the discomfort in this text is that while many might claim Jesus as the sovereign King of their lives, it is far less that actually set him as Lord over their lives.  There is a difference between just stating it, and actually living it out.  In this parable Christ says, just as you have done it to the least of these, the ones that are in this condition, as long as you are concerned with your brothers and sister, then you are concerned with me – as long as you love them, you love me.  It is only through a transformational change of the heart that allows us to care for others that our determination to make Jesus Lord over our lives is actualized.  We can only set God as head over our life when we have given him our heart and have allowed him to transform it in ways that we give of ourselves to love one another without even thinking. 

IV. Making Jesus Christ Lord Over Our Lives

On this Christ the King Sunday, as we proclaim that Jesus is Lord over our lives, Christ is telling us what that proclamation means.  If we are to claim Christ as head of our lives, and proudly state that we are followers of Christ, then that means we must dedicate our lives to the teachings of Christ.  That means patterning our lives in ways that reflect what Christ did within his ministry.  We are to dedicate our lives and hearts so much to Christ that we are transformed in God’s love.  Transformed so much that we live our lives loving God and loving our neighbor, seeking to be perfected in Christ.  That means to act in love – loving those that are cast out of society, loving those that are different from us, loving those that others pass judgement on.  We must know that we can only achieve fullness in Christ through loving one another.  We cannot be whole and achieve the fullest expression of ourselves if we do not love others.  As people of God, giving Jesus our all, requires us to tend to our heart through prayer and reading scripture, but it also requires us to pay attention to what going on in the world, it requires us to pay attention to the news to know what is happening in the world, to know what people are feeling, where they are rejoicing and where they are in pain, and then we must be prayerful and listen to our God for the most faithful response of God’s love. 

As the church we must dedicate ourselves to be centered in Christ – letting Christ transform us.  Because the church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ our Lord.  That means that our faith looks to Christ and can only grow as we act more and more like Christ.  But what does that look like.  Christ said when I was hungry you gave me food and when I was thirsty you gave me something to drink.  That means that when there are those that are hungry and thirsty and in need we are to feed them and give them drink, but it goes beyond just feeding them.  We are to love them in ways in which we see them as people, not as pathologically broken or  in ways where we stroke our own ego, patting ourselves on the back for the good deed we have done.  But we must see them as real people that God loves, and allow ourselves to be vulnerable in ways where we can mutually see each other as children of God.  Christ said when I was a stranger you welcomed me.  That means that we are to extend love to the stranger, those we don’t know.  That means striking up a conversation with people that we might meet at the store, those that are completely different from us, those who might seem to have completely different experiences from us, maybe even having conversations with those we might see in the liquor store parking lot up the road from the church.  It is treating the stranger with love, so that they might feel the love of Jesus Christ and  feel welcomed in the presence of God.  Jesus said when I was naked you gave me clothing, that means providing clothing for the homeless run or finding new ways to get those people who suffer from homelessness the supplies and support that they need so that they may live and be treated as human beings, living in their fullest sense of self.  Jesus said when I was imprisoned you came and visited me.  That may mean that we develop ministry that visits with those that are imprisoned that they might receive God’s love and be treated as human beings who did something wrong and are seeking reformation rather than stigmatized as villainous demons.  Even when we do wrong, we are all in need of God’s love. These are only some tangible suggestions for what Christ has revealed in scripture, but the reality is that the possibilities are endless when we allow Christ to reign within our heart. We just need to allow Christ to lead us and direct our path. And as we allow Christ to reign within our hearts we are Christ’s new creation – living life that may be in opposition to the world around us that has created hierarchy and self-serving power – we choose to live life in a way that is closely aligned with imitating Christ.  A life serving others and functioning in love. When we are transformed by God, we do these good works of Christ without thinking because they intrinsically flow from our hearts.

On this Christ the King Sunday, we are proclaiming that Christ reigns by transforming our hearts, letting God shape and mold who we are. It is not just saying that Jesus is the king of our lives, but actually living it out, actually letting Christ transform our very being.  Our salvation, in which we give our lives to Christ is, just that.  It is not just saying the words that acknowledge Christ is the savior who died for our sins, but actually internalizing it in a way that transforms our very being.  Transforms us in ways that reflect Christ is within us, that makes it obvious that we love God fully, and love our neighbor with sincere intent. When we do this we can actually lift up the hymn, “Jesus is all the world to me, my life, my God, my all, he is my strength from day to day, without him I would fall.”

 V. Conclusion

As we head on life’s journey, I just want to claim that Jesus Christ is my friend, my most intimate friend, who not only knows my heart but has shaped my heart.  On this day as we see that Christ is King, we hold that his reign over us involves becoming like him and making him the center of our lives.  To make Christ our King is to function in love.

Christ is King!

Jesus is Lord!

And his reign lasts forever – reigning on this earth and hopefully reigning in our lives that we are transformed and made new. Jesus is all the world to me, because Jesus Christ is Lord.   Following him, I know I’m right, he watches over me day and night, because Jesus Christ is Lord and he’s my friend. Amen.