Jesus is Lord
25th November (Sunday before Advent)
Advent = translation of Gk Parousia = the Second coming
Rev 1:4b-8 New Living Translation
(4 This letter is from John to the seven churches in the province of Asia.[a] )
Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come; from the sevenfold Spirit[b] before his throne; 5 and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world.
All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. 6 He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.
7 Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven.
And everyone will see him—
even those who pierced him.
And all the nations of the world
will mourn for him.
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,”[c] says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.”
John 18:33-37 New Living Translation (NLT)
33 Then Pilate went back into his headquarters and called for Jesus to be brought to him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked him.
34 Jesus replied, “Is this your own question, or did others tell you about me?”
35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate retorted. “Your own people and their leading priests brought you to me for trial. Why? What have you done?”
36 Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.”
37 Pilate said, “So you are a king?”
Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Sermon, Feast day of Christ the King (25th November):
TEXT: The text that jumps out at me is Rev 1:5b-7a
5All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. 6 He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.
7 Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven.
And everyone will see him—
even those who pierced him. (NRSVA)
5To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
7 Look! He is coming with the clouds;
every eye will see him
even those who pierced him; (NLT)
Within that are at least 3 ideas:
v.5b “All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us (lit. ”by his blood”).”
v.6a “He has made us a Kingdom of priests for (lit. “a kingdom, priests serving”) God his Father.”
v.7a “Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone (lit. “every eye”) will see him”Our text says 3 things:
1. Jesus is our Saviour, because he has freed us from our sins by dying for us in the Cross;
2. We have access to God, as if we were all priests;
3. Jesus is going to return one day in the most spectacular way.
(a) What did the text mean when it was read first?
1. “Jesus is Lord” was the most inflammatory statement in the 1st Century, equivalent to “Jesus is as big as the Emperor”. It challenged the Roman occupiers. It was literally treason! Here John says Jesus saved us from the consequences of sin. Christians were persecuted and often killed simply for being Christians: Roman law allowed anyone to accuse someone of a crime, and in this case, if they refused to recant, and to worship the many Roman gods, then they were found guilty.
2. “We are a Kingdom of Priests” challenged the Jewish leaders, who were the only priests as far as they were concerned. When we say “we are all priests” we simply mean we all have access to God, we don’t need a special person to help us to pray – God is with us, in Jesus, who died for us, in the Holy Spirit, who lives in us and helps us, and in the Father who made us, and who forgives our sins.
3. “Jesus is coming again, in a way that will be seen by everybody”. This challenged the world, then and now. In Advent we are thinking both about Jesus’ coming into the world for the first time at Christmas, and looking forward to help us understand that momentous event, when God entered our world as a human being, but also looking at this promise, that one day, and nobody knows when, except God himself, Jesus the King comes back to Earth, we call that the “Second Coming”.
“Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone (lit. “every eye”) will see him”
or “Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him—even those who pierced him.”
(b) What can this mean today? What does this mean for us now? What should we do?
We say every Sunday in our creeds, “and he will come again to judge the living and the dead,”
And in the Communion service, “Great is the mystery of Faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”
In our darker moments, when doubts get to us, we ask ourselves, “Is God really there? How can we know?” Paul answers in 2 Cor 5:7, “We walk by Faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor. 5:7)
This (2 Cor. 5) is Paul’s chapter about death and dying, and he is well aware of people’s difficulties with this.
“1For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. 2 We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. 3 For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. (4 While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. 5 God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.)
6 So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. 7 For we live by believing and not by seeing. 8 Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him.”
So, our confidence in our future with God in heaven is a matter of Faith, not sight, Paul admits, but what evidence for that faith? Jesus’ resurrection is above all the evidence. So too is the confidence of faithful Christian people facing death
I had many conversations with Janet my wife before she died in September. She was utterly sure of her future. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, (v.5b) “All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us.”
It was so reassuring!
And I believe that Janet has met him, Jesus, in person, face to face.
You too can be sure of this, because “faith” is not the exclusive property of a few very spiritual people. In Ephesians 2:8, Paul writes that we have been saved by Grace through “faith”, but that faith is given to us by God.
NLT: “8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.”
Message: “Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish!”
English Standard Version: “8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”
King James Version: “8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God”
So believing in Jesus is not difficult, because Faith is a gift from God.
Our text, from the Book of Revelation chapter 1, said that Jesus loves us, freed us from our sins by his death on the Cross, made us a Kingdom of Priests (which we said meant a people with free access to God), and one day is coming to Earth again, and will be seen by everybody.
We say we believe these things whenever we say our creeds, or share in Communion, and as we approach Advent, the time for deeper thought about Jesus’ coming, do ask yourself, what do I believe?
Are you prepared to say “Jesus is Lord” (Jesus is in charge of my life), in your school, work, home, in the societies and clubs you belong to? And face the consequences?
Trust Him! Amen!