Revelation 1:4b-8

John 18:33-37

Is Christ Your King?

November 25, 2018

(Christ The King Sunday)

“I am the Alpha and the Omega”, says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)

Very powerful words, are they not?

Very powerful words – and a perfect text for this last Sunday of the liturgical year, the one designated by the Church around the world as Christ The King Sunday. Of course, the idea that Christ Is King came long before the church incorporated it on the liturgical calendar. Go back to the gospels and you find all four of them recounting the confrontation we read about a moment ago between Jesus and Pilate.

The Jewish religions authorities had dragged Jesus before the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, in hopes he would be found guilty of treason – and Pilate asks Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” To which Jesus banters back, “Is that your own idea, or did others talk to you about me?”

Pilate replies, “Am I a Jew? It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

 And Jesus answers: “My kingdom is not of this world.”

Of course, Jesus is right. How could His kingdom be “of this world” when the title “King of the Jews” was the inscription posted over Jesus’ head as He was nailed to a cross — not above a throne that kings of this world would sit upon?

Still, we know the kingdom is real. After all, why have we ever heard of Pontius Pilate? Or the high priests, Annas and Caiaphas? The only reason we know those names is because they were once part of the story of Jesus. Or what about Pilate’s great Roman Empire, or all the others of the past 2000 years? They have risen and fallen — their kings and kingdoms have come and gone. Presidents and Prime ministers, despots and dictators have had their moments of glory. But through them all, millions upon millions all over the world have humbled themselves at the foot of that cross and bowed their heads in homage and honor at the name of Jesus.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

            “The Alpha and the Omega.” Some of you may know that those are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet – so to say something or someone is “the Alpha and the Omega” is to affirm completeness – to affirm that they are the beginning and the end — the A to Z — and everything in between.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

            While this is a true statement, it is an interesting choice of words for the writer of Revelation to write down.  When he wrote these words, John was living in a time of vicious persecution. To make a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ was to put your life in danger of, at the least, becoming a social and commercial leper or, at worst, being legally murdered as an enemy of the Roman empire. John himself was on the prison island of Patmos as he wrote and prison islands were not simply places of incarceration – they were holding cells for those awaiting execution. John pictured the awful conditions as they existed in his day. He noted how human beings could become monsters and destroy a society from within; he saw the disastrous results of violent conflict. But with eyes of faith, John gazed into the future and saw a better day — a day in a world ruled by King Jesus – the Alpha and the Omega, the one who was and is and is to come, the Almighty.

            Christ is King! Regardless of whatever else may happen – the world is in the loving care and control of “the Alpha and the Omega, the one who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Regardless of what may happen in your life – your life is in the loving care and control of “the Alpha and the Omega, the one who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Even when Jesus hung on the cross and the title “King of the Jews” was hung over his head in what the Jewish leaders and Pilate thought to be a cruel joke —  He was still “the Alpha and the Omega, the one who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Christ is King!

What this means is that Christ is not only is King over all creation – He is also King over your life! He not only rules over everything – He rules over your things!

The question is – do you serve Him? The question is – do you serve Him and acknowledge that He is King over your life – or do you let other things rule and govern you? 

Is Christ your King?

You know – you can make all kinds things king over your life. You can give all kinds of things control over your life.  You can let all kinds of things rule your life. You can let your life be controlled by money. You can let your life be controlled by power.  You can let other people rule and control your life. You can let your desire for things like the best cars – the best computers – the best houses – or whatever else is the “latest and greatest” according to society – control your life. You can let these things control you – but you are not living out the truth that we know as Christians. As Christians, we know that Christ is King! As Christians, we know that only Christ is “the Alpha and the Omega, the one who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” As Christians, we know that all the things of the world will fade away – and only Christ will last. As Christians, we know that Christ is King!

You can let the bad things and bad situations in your life rule your life also. You can look at the bad things going on in the world and let fear rule your life – and  it could be said that you would have good reason for that. You can look the trials you may be going through in your life — whether they be health issues or fear of losing your job or trying to get the health coverage you and your family need or getting out of debt or family problems or so many other things that may be happening and let fear rule your life – and again it could be said that you would have good reason for that also. You can let the things of the world rule your life or situations rule your life – or you can be like the Apostle John, who  saw the bad things – the terrible things – the devastating things – but would not bow down to these things or give homage to them or give them control over his life. He saw all these things – but had eyes of faith – and realized that only Christ is “the Alpha and the Omega, the one who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Christ is King!

So – is Christ your King? Do you serve Him? Or – do you just like to say that Christ is your King – but live as if your serve other things? Is Christ really your King – or do you just like to play like He is?

            In 1957 the Board of the Ideal Toy Company thought they had come up with a surefire marker hit: a Jesus doll! The majority of kids in America were Christian, so they figured parents would jump at the opportunity to make playtime a religious experience. After a lot of research, they introduced their product to great fanfare and sparing no expense in the marketing campaign. Unfortunately, they did not consult any parents, who probably would have told him the idea was a loser  — which is exactly what it turned out to be. In fact, very few sold because parents were horrified at the idea of undressing the Jesus doll, dragging it around, sticking it in the bathtub, and the like. Jesus dolls – packaged in a box that looked like the Bible – were probably the biggest doll flop in American toy history. Why? Because even though people of faith celebrate the fact that Jesus was truly human – walked, talked, ate, drank, suffered, and even died – we know there is more to His story: He is “the Alpha and the Omega, the one who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” That is not doll house stuff!

            But – here’s the thing.

            Too many times we like to “play like” Christ is our Lord and King — “the Alpha and the Omega” of our lives – the “beginning and the end” for us – “the A to Z and everything in between” – but we don’t really live like it.  We might want to have Jesus like a doll or a toy we can pull out when we need Him – play with Him a bit – then put Him back in the box or throw Him down until we need Him again.

            The truth is that Christ is King. Christ is King over all creation.  Christ is King over you.

Do you live like Christ is your King? Regardless of how you live – Christ is your King – and wants you to live like He is your King. The things of the world – whether it be things others say should rule your life like money or possessions or whatever else it might be – or the devastating things that can control you and bring you to despair —  do not have to control your life.  Christ is King – and wants to have control over your life.

Is Christ your King? Is Christ “the Alpha and the Omega” of your life – the “beginning and the end” for you – “the A to Z and everything in between”?  Christ was  not simply some ancient itinerant rabbi who taught timeless truths – He was not simply some helpful Hebrew healer who had remarkable power over disease and even death – He was not simply a compassionate, caring friend who reached out to those whom society rejected — but He was God of all creation come to earth – “the Alpha and the Omega, the one who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty”.

Christ is King.

How do you live like Christ is your King?

 A good start would be by taking your King’s orders seriously – and living as His servant. If you want a quick manual on how He wants His servants to live, take a look at Matthew 5-7 what we call the Sermon on the Mount. If Christ is truly your King, your sexual behavior will be in control. You will be honest in your business dealings. You will go above and beyond the call of duty in response to appeals for help. You will care for the welfare of, not only your neighbor, but your enemy as well. You will be religious, but not showy about it. Possessions will have their rightful place in your life, not the be-all and end-all of existence. You will not be judgmental, but you will use good judgment. You will trust God to meet your needs. The things of the world will neither rule you nor terrify you.

Is Christ your King?

If so, you will do your level best to do what He says. You have the promise of His abiding presence to help you on your journey of serving Him. He is, after all, our living Lord. This is the one who is ultimately in charge, and that, my friend, is a wonderful word of hope for you or me or anyone who has ever been drenched in the storms of life.

True, He wrote no books, composed no songs, drew no pictures, carved no statues, amassed no fortune, commanded no army, ruled no nation on this world —   And yet, He who never wrote a line has been made the hero of unnumbered volumes. He who never wrote a song has put music into the hearts of nameless multitudes. He who refused the kingdoms of this earth has become the Lord of millions. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Is Christ your King? Live like it! Follow Him.

Serve Him.

Amen.