Sunday 22 November 2015 – ‘Give us a King’November 23, 2015
REIGN OF CHRIST THE KING ( revised) GIVE US A KING!
READINGS Old Testament 2nd Samuel ch 23 verses 1 -7 and New Testament John ch 18 verses 33 -37
This Sunday, the one before the beginning of Advent is Liturgically called The Reign of Christ the King…
King or Queen today as we know is much more of a civic role than one of absolute power held by Kings and Queens of the past, certainly we in Britain have not heard of many maligners being sent to the tower…however many names we might in so many spheres today suggest as suitable candidates!
For Reign means power and having power seems to be the ultimate desire of too many Politicians…Business tycoons..Renegade Generals and even, sadly little pockets of power in our very Churches…. Yet with power comes the burden of responsibility..the price which so many promising leaders seem unwilling to commit to..
It is said that the most powerful man on the planet is the President of the USA.. Achieving that dream must have been very sweet for Barak Obama…for an Afro-American to be elected President as the Press commented the following day…” marked the end of Racial oppression in America after 300 years..”
So much frustration and hopelessness was supplanted by spontaneous joy.. In the Election of Obama the epitome of the American dream had become a reality that all things are possible in America…
But the reality as a Scotsman newspaper headline at the time remarked.. ” From Euphoria to an In Tray from Hell!!!.. Barak Obama is only a man and he would need the cooperation of many people and many nations if any of his visions for a better way of life are to come to pass… he is not God, though happily a confessed Christian believer, but at almost the end of his Second term of Office he will have discovered that Politically powerful as his High Office is seen to be he cannot describe these eight years as the Reign of a King and the years to come will assess his Presidency as successful or not.
Biblical history looks at the successful and unsuccessful reigns of Kings who did possess great power humanly speaking but the appointment of human kings was due to a huge shift in the attribution of power by the fledgling Nation of Israel from the Sovereign Rule of God as their acknowledged historical leader and Guide to electing a man whom they had chosen to be King…..
In Samuel we see how this occurred…. Samuel was God’s prophet who sought the Lord’s way and shared this with the people for their guidance….In his old age he passed on this role to his sons.. But they did not follow in their father’s ways and gave in to the temptations of money and bribes and perverted the course of Justice…..
The people came to Samuel and complained that his sons were failures as leaders and asked him instead to provide them with a King…as other Nations had…
Samuel, upset, took this in prayer to God…who pointed out just what that would mean.
It meant that the people were actually rejecting God as their proven Guide and leader and that a human King would make harsh and personal demands on them..And, if they insisted on going down this road and reality began to bite and they came to God and pleaded for the King to be removed. He would no longer listen…
But they insisted and so began the reigns of the Kings of Israel….and as the book of Kings describes their reigns they are judged succinctly on whether they did or did not do what was right in the eyes of God….
In the passage we read from Samuel we have what is described as the last testament of King David… A man who was not by any means perfect but whose imperfections were redeemed by the fact that he did try to come back to following God’s ways.
For a time, David’s kingdom was united and at peace and was a place pleasant to live in and in this final oracle David gives this provision to his successors…” Rule justly…let there be order and security…..pursue the prosperity that comes from seeking the Lord’s help and Guidance.. Always desire to obey God’s law and remember it is God’s creation in your care of the planet…..” Difficult to better this advice to any human leader!!
Perhaps some of the secret of David’s success as a leader was that he was the kind of man who attracted men to follow him.. He inspired people to achieve beyond their own expectations and enabled them to reach their potential…he had qualities which brought out the best in his followers…. Hopefully the leaders we follow and the causes we commit to can bring out the best in each of us…but we have seen the horrific outcome of those who are following leaders who breed and encourage hatred… Evil leadership encouraging the perpetration of unspeakable deeds against humanity by brain washed followers….
The Leadership in the so called IS is identifying the West as a satanic power which gives no place or justice to others…which treats other nations as non persons of no value and has a justice system which gives out no perceived justice… Young idealistic men are easily convinced that they have a cause to defend and in all honesty perhaps we need to all look at the world and its different peoples with more Godlike eyes and see if we have any case to answer….
Who are the leaders we respect and are prepared to follow? Do we recognise God’s leadership in our own lives for surely no-one can lead us to excellence and fulfillment as God can…..
When David in his last testament spoke of a Righteous Ruler he was prophetically inspired to refer to this being fulfilled in Jesus Christ..when He returns to rule the world in perfect Justice and Peace…..
Mercifully God in His love had a Plan for the World and when David points to the Coming of the Great Messianic King we get a glimpse of what perfect leadership could achieve..
When Jesus began His Ministry he said that His Coming in to the world had launched God’s Kingdom on earth and that the Rule of God had begun…
Well, 2000 years on can we really see the evidence of this wonderful era in our broken hate filled world? What kind of King did God send? Is Jesus really a King?
In the section of John we read of the trial of Jesus this is the very question Pilate asked him… Are you the King of the Jews..?
So Pilate asks Jesus directly..” Are you the King of the Jews?”
” Are you asking me this question yourself ” Jesus replies ” or is it a question others have in required you to ask?” Pilate blusters ” am I a Jew that I can know Jewish things..it was your own people who brought you to me..”
Then Jesus answers ” I am not an earthly King. if I were then my followers would have risen up in arms when I was arrested by the Jewish leaders…for my kingdom is not of this world..
” So ” said Pilate, grabbing onto this ” You are a King then?”
” You are right in saying so replied Jesus ” I was born for that purpose..I came to bring truth to the world..ALL who love the truth recognise that what I am saying is the truth”
Is God’s truth not the one thing this crazy world of spinning and wheeling and dealing needs so badly.. We have believed in the integrity of High Office..of Financial management of our money..in the Promises of politicians and all of this has crashed yet again leaving disillusionment and ruined lives..
Barack Obama was elected by America because change was desperately needed..integrity had to be rediscovered and justice seen to be done…somehow peace on earth had to be found.. But almost at the end of his second term as the supposedly most powerful man on earth I’m sure he has discovered that change is not easily brought about…
Hopes are not enough..inspired oratory is not enough…laws though good in themselves have to be espoused by those whose cooperation is required for them to bring about change..
Whole mindsets have to be altered, not just in America but across the World…between East and West…between Islam and Christianity..between Jew and Palestinian..between African and African..between the Haves and the Have nots.. We are learning very painfully that no Human leader is able to deliver the promised dream.
The people came to Samuel convinced that they needed a human Ruler as other nations had… Give us a King they implored… Samuel so sadly let them have their way and one after another proved to have feet of clay. They turned their backs on God and put their faith in human flesh…..
Centuries later, the Jews still clung to this hope…they wanted a King who would force Rome to its knees….
So Pilate asks Jesus ” Are YOU the King of the Jews? And Jesus reply.. ” I am not an earthly King.. I have come to bring truth to the world…
Is this what we want when we pray the Lord’s prayer.. Thy Kingdom come on earth?? forgetting the second part..” as it is in Heaven..”
We need to rediscover the belief and conviction that Christ alone can bring about the fundamental changes in human hearts and minds which are needed..
Jesus came to earth to bring hope to a fallen world and all who will hear Him and obey Him are already forming part of the building of the Kingdom of God…. It seems to be such a slow process but is it because we keep looking for a Human Leader who will somehow bring a solution to the ills of the world…without any input from us?
God’s Kingdom is not one where greed and power and force will prevail but one where Love,, justice..integrity and peace will the rule…
We must elect and support leaders whose vision is of such a world…but we cant sit back and leave it to them… this kind of change will only happen when each one of us puts the King of love at the centre of our lives…and live under His rule in courage and in faith…..