Long Live the King 11-24-2019

I mentioned before today is the feast of Christ the King, what does
this feast mean? What can we do to appreciate Jesus as King?
I have an idea I’d like you to think about. Bear with me because
you’ll think I’m a little crazy as I develop it, but eventually I think you’ll
see the point I want to make. Let’s spend a little time thinking about
how we use the word “king” in our conversations. We speak of the lion
as the king of the beasts and we have all heard of King Kong, a powerful
but much maligned oversized gorilla. And the Schlitz people boast that
theirs is the king of beer. If you want a great burger you go to Burger
King. A few years ago a Nike commercial declared Michael Jordan the
king of the court. Then there’s that old cowboy, Roy Rogers, king of the
cowboys, and there’s a lesser known king, the polka king, Frankie
Yankovitch. But enough is enough! What is the point in rattling off a list of kings as varied as the hamburger king and the polka king?
As we listen to the list, we realize that however diverse, all these
kings share something in common – they excel at what they do. They all
have some crowning achievement. For example, the lion has a roar that would frighten anyone, and King Kong made the earth tremble when he
beat his hairy chest. Schlitz claimed it had the best beer and Burger
King the best burgers in the land. Nike declared that Michael Jordan
could sky higher than anyone else.
Today we celebrate Christ as a king. What does he excel at?
What’s his crowning achievement? Well, we know what he wasn’t the
best at. He wasn’t the best liked, certainly not by the Scribes or
Pharisees; the best dressed (a one-piece tunic and that was it); the best
looking (nowhere do we read he looked like Charleton Heston); the best
likely to succeed (the cross did not hold the sweet smell of success); the
best behaved (sweet, simple Jesus he was not).
Well, then how did he excel? What was he best at? He excelled at
being human. If you want to know what it is to be a powerful gorilla,
you look to King Kong; if you want to know what it is to be the king of
the court, you look to Michael Jordan; if you want to know what it is like to be human, you look to Jesus.
But what does Jesus excelling at being human mean? I’d say it
means three things: You count!
I’m for you!
Come to the party!
“You count!” We know what it means not to count. It means to
be: looked through, overlooked, under looked, nobody, a no account,
“You count!” This means: all the runny noses matter, all the
overweight’s matter, all the underweight’s matter, all the just-so’s matter,
all the wallflowers, confused, questioning, dropouts matter.
Jesus made everybody feel they counted. He made little
Zacchaeus feel ten feet tall. He named Simple Simon “the rock.” He
turned the prostitute into Dulcinea.
Secondly, Jesus let everybody know, “I’m for you!” Period! Not, “I’m for you…”
…if you pass a test,
…if you get your hair cut and your nails cleaned,
…if you get smart and well-mannered,
…if you get the earring removed …if you’re tops in everything.
No, “I’m for you” as you are, warts and all, neuroses and all. You
can rely on me, lean on me, trust me. I’m no fair-weather friend. I
believe in you!
Thirdly, Jesus invited everybody to the party. No one was to be:
rejected, turned back, cast out, sent on their way, refused
His parties were not: mutual admiration societies, elitist
gatherings, old boy’s club meetings.
“Come to the party”: whites, blacks, browns, polka dots, men
women, poor, rich, tall, short, old, young, suburbanites, city folk,
country dwellers! You are all welcome!
Christ’s message was and is: “You count, I’m for you, and come
to the party.” But what about his crowning achievement? The touch of
glory? His crowning achievement was and is the cross. No big roar. No
polka. No razzle-dazzle on the basketball court. Just the cross.
Certainly the cross represents others’ attempts to cut short and put an end to Jesus’ message. But it is also Jesus’ way of saying you can’t stop a winner, a king. He went all the way to put himself on the line for
us, and he made his point most eloquently on the cross. Because on that
cross he said to another reject: “You count; I’m for you; this day you
will be with me at the party in everlasting life!
Long live the king!


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