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The King of Your Heart

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Intro — Kids and Questions

Parent peppered with questions...
“Kids ask an average of 40,000 questions between the ages of 2 and 5. 2-300 per day — Warren Berger, author of A More Beautiful Question
Where does poo come from?...“And Tigger, too?”
“One child wanted to know if his mom had to stay indoors when she was little during Covids 1 through 18.”
Season — “Is Santa real? — Some answers to questions are just not cut and dried, definitive or simple to answer...
Today’s gospel lesson — one of those kinds of questions. Only not from a 5 yr old but a man with great power. Pontius Pilate, the Roman administrator at the time of Jesus
“What is truth?” John 18:38
A regiment of solders sent to capture one man. Bound and brought first before Caiaphas the high priest...
John 18:14 “Caiaphas was the one who had told the other Jewish leaders, “It’s better that one man should die for the people.””
Jesus now standing before Pilate, who seems to hold all the cards, faced with a decision — Set him free or send him to be executed. Yet he is left with an question unanswered...
Two rulers, with different agendas — One of earthly authority, wanting to satisfy the crowds while not relinquishing his power, the other with all the authority of heaven laying aside his power for one purpose, the reason Jesus stands before Pilate. A litany of questions and responses — A war of words — Jesus’ kingship is the central concern

(S) Christ the King Sunday — The Reign of Christ — The king of kings

Church in Monreale, Palermo, Sicily, southern Italy
Pantocrator —” A title of Christ represented as the ruler of the universe — "Almighty" or "All-powerful — "Ruler of All"
If we profess the Christian faith…we have questions...one important question we need to ask..
Bibles — Prayer
John 18:33 (NLT)
33 Then Pilate called for Jesus to be brought to him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked him.
There had been no king in Judea since Herod the Great, and while false messiahs had appeared, claiming to be in the Davidic line, Jesus hardly had the appearance or demeanor of such. Several insurrectionists had been arrested recently (Barabbas, two on the cross), and the differences between Jesus and them were apparent. “Pilate needed to probe Jesus and find out his claims regarding himself.” Cornerstone Comm.
Jesus answer is consistent with how he responded to those who asked questions with ill intent, personal motives, or worldly agendas — Not answering the question
John 18:34 (NLT)
34 Jesus replied, “Is this your own question, or did others tell you about me?”
Jesus responds challenging the integrity of Pilates question — Here in lies the problem: Whose truth did Pilate know? His own or someone else’s?
Problem with truth today, is knowing what is true and what is not...
Truth can be relevant can’t it? Personal presupposition, where life experience, what we know, or even political leaning, can make it hard to disseminate truth from fiction.
Is jesus the king of the Jews? If so, what kind of king? What is truth? Depends who you ask…Many wanted a king but for a different purpose — Both a political and powerful ruler to bring them peace
Then, Pilate trying to separate himself from the whole thing…asks more questions…
John 18:35 (NLT)
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?”
Early that morning he had been approached by his wife and told to let it go, and wash his hands of this Jesus fellow.
Matthew 27:19 “Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night.””
It was the most desperate attempt of a Roman wife to intercede in her husband’s affairs...
Matthew 27:24 “Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!””
Is jesus a king? What is truth? Still the question is only vaguely answered
John 18:36 (NLT)
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.”
A king? Yes, sort of…His reign is over a much greater realm then a nation or a people. better said in the NRSV, My kingdom is not from this world...
Pilate's truth was based on what he knew, that another claiming authority would be a detriment to his own. His perspective was tainted, like those who brought Jesus to him — Fear of loosing the hold of religious authority over the people.
Pilates perspective, Jew is better translated Judean — not all Jews — He reigned over all the people of Judea and Jesus’ claim of king would have been a threat to Pilate’s earthly kingdom rule.
The people wanted a king and for those who did not yet understand who Jesus was, fighting to save him would have been the natural response — Petter in the garden...
John 18:10Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave.”
Peter’s denial placed just before this — Some even those who were close to Jesus did not yet understand. What kind of disciple was Peter?
What kind of disciple are we? What kingdom are you fighting for?
Is telling people about who Jesus is the most important thing on your agenda?
Tim’s story with the tire guy
Christians — Sometimes we fight harder for this temporary worldly kingdom then we do for God’s eternal kingdom come
1 John 2:15 “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.”
Do not love this world more than you love God and the king who is the ruler over all things, Jesus who is to be the ruler of your heart.
What is truth? It’s not of this world and neither was Jesus. If saving himself in this world was the fight, then...
John 18:36 my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders.
But that is not Jesus’ fight…It was to bring the truth of salvation to the lost. Pilate asks another question, and Jesus responds
John 18:37 (NLT)
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.
Testifying to the truth could have meant a lot of things — Who God is. Who Jesus is. Why he came. Summed up best...
John 1:14 “So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”
Literally translates, full of grace and truth John 14:6 I am the way, the truth…
John 8:31-32Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.””
His truth is made know to us by the spirit..
John 14:17 “But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.”
Jesus who is truth was bearing witness to the love of God. A witness we are called to as followers of Jesus.
Acts 1:88 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere...
What is truth? The question better framed is, “Who is truth, and what will we do with the truth we know?
Ours is not a fight for this kingdom, but so others will know the kingdom of God.
How do we know this truth that Jesus spoke of?
John 18:37 (NLT) 37b …All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”
They who are on the side of truth listen to Jesus
37b Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” (NRSV)
Jesus wasn’t concerned with Pilate...What kind of followers were his disciples to be? Jesus would be their source of truth . They would have to listen to Jesus who is truth more than those who think they know the truth...who have chosen to wash their hands...
What kind of disciple are you? Where do you get your truth?
John 10:27 “27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
But…truth is hard to hear. Pilate asked the question, but did he really want the truth?
Col. Jessup: I’ll answer the question. You want answers?
Lt. j.g. Kaffee: I think I’m entitled to them.
Col. Jessup: You want answers?!
Lt. j.g. Kaffee: I want the truth!
Col. Jessup: You can’t handle the truth!
From the film, A Few Good Men, (1992), starring Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, and directed by Rob Reiner:
What is truth?
“There is no evidence that Jesus responded to the question, and we have to figure that if Jesus — King of Kings, Lord of lords, present at creation and in whom the fullness of God dwelt bodily — didn’t tackle this question, maybe it’s best left alone.”
The greater question — What kind of disciple are we? Who is the king of your heart?
1. Do we BELONG to our truth or God’s truth?
As Christians we can say we belong to God’s truth — In church one day of the week. Recite the creed, say the Lord’s Prayer, sing a hymn or mumble a praise and drop a few dollars in the offering plate. But, then the rest of the week do we live according to our own truth?
2. Do we LIVE and ACT as if the truth is in us?
In the words of Fr. Michael Marsh, “how we answer that question will determine … the choices we make, the priorities we establish, the words we speak, and the actions we take.”
3. To whom do we LiSTEN?
When we’re off doing whatever we want to, to whose voice are we listening? Sometimes we are like many adolescents, who insist they know what they’re doing, they really love mom and dad, but they listen to their own counsel or to the advice of their peers, rather than the voice of their parents.
4. Are we willing to WITNESS to the truth of God’s word?
How are you a witness to the truth? Wellness requires regular, if not frequent, checkups. So, you visit your health care professional. Are you in the word on a regular bases so you can be a better witness of its truth?
"Are you a king? What is truth?" Yet Jesus chooses not to answer. Maybe because the bigger question is…what kind of disciple are we?
Who is the king of your heart?
Jesus was willing to be condemned for the truth, are you?
1 John 4:4But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”
Now is that time for us to claim who are king is?
Is Jesus Lord, or isn’t he?
Do we listen to his voice, or our own?
Do we belong to God’s truth, or our own?
Who is the king of your heart?
Resources
Do You Belong? Homiletics, Sunday, November 21, 2021 | John 18:33-37
—Timothy Merrill and Carl Wilton contributed to this material.
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