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Mid-Week with Christ
November 20, 2019

Christ the King

Luke 23:32-43

32 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” 39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Prayer for the Day

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the kingship of Your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ who by his death has saved us from our enemies and delivered us from our sin. Amen.

The Disney musical Lion King has a song about how Simba, the lion cub, just can’t wait to be the monarch of the savannah. “No one saying “stop that!”/ No one saying “See, here!” / Free to run around all day / Free to do it all my way! / Oh, I just can’t wait to be king!” But it turns out that being king is much more than getting to do what you want. There are responsibilities and challenges. “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown,” as the king says in Shakespeare’s King Henry IV.
The next few weeks we will be looking at the idea of kingship, starting this week, as we prepare to celebrate “Christ the King” Sunday. Today we focus on the true and greatest king, Jesus. His kingship was misunderstood from the beginning. He did not come to “run around all day,” doing it all his way. He knew that his throne would not be a high and comfortable seat but a wooden cross. His crown would not be made of gold but of thorns. He would not be hailed by trumpets and courtiers but jeered at by soldiers and peasants alike. He would not be robed in kingly purple trimmed with ermine but, in the end, would have no robe at all.
Jesus suffered these things so that, as our king, he could save us from our enemies. Isn’t that the true calling of any leader, to protect the people from those who would hurt them? Jesus took up the crown and throne offered to him by Pilate so that Satan and sin could not rule over us any longer. Those who put their trust in Jesus will find him saying to them, as he said to the thief on the cross, “you will be with me in paradise.” 
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