Christ the King
Jeremiah 23:1-6 Luke 1:68-79 Colossians 1:11-20 Luke 23:33-43 November 24, 2013
We have heard about righteousness much in our lives. The preacher will say some situation is righteous. We read in the Bible that God is righteous. But, what does righteousness mean?
Righteousness, as defined by the Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, is the fulfillment of the demands of a relationship. So, there can be righteousness in a marriage – the relationship demands faithfulness, so both husband and wife are faithful to each other. There can be righteousness in a friendship – the relationship demands honesty, so when both friends are honest, they are righteous. There can be righteousness between employer and employee – the relationship demands that the employer pay the employee a good wage and that the employee gives the employer a full day’s work, when they do both, then they are righteous.
Righteousness takes on a new level when we think about God’s relationship with humanity. We know that God created us. We know that since Adam & Eve we have been sinning against God. That is, we have broken off relating to God by doing our own thing, for our own pleasure, and ultimately our own pain and death.
We need not forget God’s side of the relationship. There is a demand placed upon God in his creating us. He placed this demand upon himself. And God willingly fulfills the demands of his relationship with humanity. This is how God fulfills the demands of this relationship.
- The Lord is our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:1-6)
- Even though leaders of his people scatter the flock
- The God of Israel attends to those who scatter his flock
- The Lord himself gathers the flock together
- He will place shepherds who will actually shepherd them
- Jeremiah says that the Lord will raise for David a descendent (a righteous branch)
- Judah & Israel will be saved & have safety
- The righteous branch who does this will be called “The Lord is our righteousness”
- So, the Lord will provide a shepherd, a righteous branch of David, to save and provide safety for God’s people. This son of David will be doing God’s part of meeting the demands of the one who creates – keeping the creation, and the chosen nation, of Israel for himself. The Lord God of Israel does this in remarkable fashion! He sends a man to get people ready for righteousness.
- John the Baptist goes before the Lord (Luke 1:68-79)
- Zechariah, when he is able to speak
- Gives a prophecy (speaking of how things will be)
- God has favor for his people
- God provides a savior
- God told the prophets about this savior
- God remembers his holy covenant
- This is the relationship that places demand upon the Lord, and upon us
- Even when we are afflicted by others, God fulfills the demands placed upon himself
- God rescues us from the hand of our enemies
- God forgives us! – This restores the relationship with God!
- We will be like we have seen a great light when we realize how merciful God is to us. When we are in the light, we have good things to say about God. These good things to say are directed to God, through Jesus.
- God’s beloved son has a kingdom (Colossians 1:11-20)
- Start to see the demands that we are to fulfill in our relating to God
- We bear fruit in every good work – as we are restored to God, we help the people around us see how good being restored to God is
- As we know God, we gain strength to live in the kingdom of His beloved son
- Who is this beloved son?
- Image of the invisible God
- 1st –born of all creation
- All things created through & for him
- Head of the body (the church)
- Is the beginning
- 1st-born from the dead
- In him, all the fullness of God dwells
- In him, God is glad to restore ourselves – by the cross!
- The cross of Jesus gives us the means to be in a restored relationship with God. God was willing to give up his own son, so that we could be restored to him! That is righteous! We have peace because God was willing to fulfill the demands of his relationship with us. He shows himself to be a different sort of king.
- This is the King of the Jews (Luke 23:33-43)
- Jesus was crucified with criminals
- He even forgave them – as they were doing him harm
- People scoffed and mocked Jesus, even by placing a sign that said, “This is the King of the Jews” over Jesus
- However, one thief fulfilled the demand of truth – he said that Jesus was innocent, when others lied about him!
- As Jesus was fulfilling the demands of his relationship to the thief, and vice versa, Jesus said the thief would be in paradise with him – a righteous place
- God was willing to give up his son in order to fulfill the demands placed upon himself. So, what are the demands placed upon us in relating to God? We get to place our faith in God. We accept the idea that God wants his people to be in fellowship with Him.
God created humanity to spend time with him. When we sin, we are saying that we don’t want to spend time with God. Yet, God does not give up.
God continues through time letting all of us on this planet know about his faithfulness to his people. He demonstrated that faithfulness by telling us what he was going to do, and completing that task. The Lord wants us brought back to him. So he makes the way for that to happen. Jesus is that way, the only way to restored fellowship with God. Isn’t it about time that you accepted the demands of your relationship with God? Isn’t about time that you placed faith in Jesus?
 The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, (Abingdon Press, Nashville:1962), p.80-85, 91-99