As we look at our world today, with all its’ difficulties and uncertainties, for example over Brexit, international conflicts and tensions, oppression, poverty and hunger, religious persecution and climate change, together with personal issues we may face in our own lives and work, families, health, and so on, our faith can easily be challenged. Is the Lord really in charge? How will it all end?
Jesus never said that following Him would be easy. He said that in the latter days ” People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming on the earth”. (Luke 21;26). But in the same passage He also said, “Look up, because your redemption is drawing near.”(v 28).
When Peter walked miraculously on the water towards Jesus he was alright as long as he kept looking up to Him but he began to sink when he looked at the wind and the waves around him ( Matthew 14:28-33). When he cried out to Jesus for help he was rescued and the wind died down when they got into the boat.
Today we celebrate ” Christ the King ” and remember that our epistle for today reminds us in Colossians chapter 1 that Christ has the first place in everything ( v 18) and that in Him all thefullness of God was pleased to dwell. v 19. As the lovely Christmas hymn puts it,
Christ by highest heaven adored, Christ the everlasting Lord,
Late in time behold Him come, offspring of a virgin’s womb,
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail the incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel.
Hark the herald angels sing, glory to the new born King.
It has been said that the Cross of Christ, which we read about in our Gospel for today (Luke 23: 33-43). is rather like the D Day landings in the 2nd World War. which was a decisive turning point in that conflict, preparing the way for the final victory even though further battles continued for a while. We too as Christians have to ” fight against the world, the flesh and the devil ” in our own lives, but as we trust in Jesus and follow Him as our Saviour and Lord we know that the final victory is assured.
Many years ago a pagan temple was built in Damascus. As Christianity spread it became a Christian church and an inscription was placed on the arch which said ” Thy kingdom, O Christ, is an everlasting kingdom and Thy dominion endures throughout all generations.”
Later on the Moslems captured it and it became a Mosque. Later on it was burnt down more than once in various conflicts but the inscription above the arch survived. We continue to pray “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” One day when Christ comes again to this world, we shall see the fulfilment of the promise that ” every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God.” ( Phil. 2: 10, 11)
23 But they kept urgently demanding with loud shouts that he should be crucified; and their voices prevailed. 24 So Pilate gave his verdict that their demand should be granted. 25 He released the man they asked for, the one who had been put in prison for insurrection and murder, and he handed Jesus over as they wished.
26 As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. 28 But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the days are surely coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
32 Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left
The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Lk 23:23–33). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.