Potsdam United Methodist Church
Where we let Jesus shine! Where we invite, love and nurture ALL!
Sunday Worship
11:00am Service
Pastor Heidi R. Chamberlain
Information info@potsdamumc.org

P, P, & F King

November 25th:

P, P, & F King
Call:           John 18: 33-37a
Text:           Revelation 1: 4b-8
Read:   Christ The King (721)

Pilate asked Jesus,     "Are you the king of the Jews?" [pause]

Now, if somehow or the other, Pilate was transported through time,
        Appeared this morning in our sanctuary,
        Rose from his seat in the pews,
And in a loud voice     asked us
        "Was he?  Was he the King of the Jews?"

How would you and I answer the question?

Shouldn't we be capable of answering that question?

You and I have read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
Four separate accounts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus
And of his mission and his teaching

And if we haven't read them in their entirety
        We are at least well familiar with the content of them.

You and I have read the Acts of the Apostles
        Which tell the story of the development of the church
        And of how his followers went out and told his story
                All over the then known world

And if we haven't read that book in its entirety
We are at least well familiar with the stories in it.

You I have read Paul's letters and the other letters
that make up so much of the New Testament
letters that explain and describe Christ

And if we haven't read all the letters in their entirety
        We are at least well familiar with them.

Too, we have read the Old Testament
        The histories and the prophets
        Which describe the relationship between God and God's people
                Which set the stage for His coming, His life, and His death
        And     which help us to understand His mission and His teachings

And if we haven't read the OT in its entirety
        We are at least well familiar with what it says.

Our familiarity with the scriptures is not something from years ago
Each year beginning with Advent
        We go through a telling of his life and teachings

In fact,
the liturgical (or Christian) year
and     the lectionary of suggested scriptures built around it
                were developed to ensure that we have that familiarity
And, of course,         we have been informed by more than the scriptures

We have heard the testimony of our contemporaries
        Parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, acquaintances, and strangers as well as teachers and preachers and authors
                All telling us about Jesus The Christ
                And what he has done in their lives

And most powerfully we know our own experiences
of having felt his powerful presence in our lives.

So when Pilate stands up in this sanctuary and asks,
        "Do the people of the Potsdam UMC believe
                That Jesus was the King of the Jews?"

We are informed responders.
BUT             Still I ask:            How do we       answer that question?

What we want to do      is shout out,   "Of course, he was!"

But maybe we ought to hold our tongues
        And give the matter a bit more thought.

For Jesus himself didn't shout that out.
        The truth be known, he was somewhat less than straight forward in his response to Pilate.

That in and of itself, ought to cause us to look deeper
        At the question that was asked.

We begin with Jesus' answer.

His first response to Pilate was
        "Do you ask this on your own,
        Or did others tell you about me?"

Pilate, a Roman official used to deferential treatment
And not completely pleased about being caught in the middle
of what appeared to be a dispute among the Jews
countered impatiently.

        "I am not a Jew, am I?
        Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me
        What have you done?"

Again, Jesus' response was again less than direct
        "My kingdom is not from this world."

And Pilate, still impatient, asked,     "So, you are a king?"

And Jesus concluded his response,
        "You say        that I am a king.

        For this I was born,    and for this I came into the world,
                To testify to the truth.
                Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."

For years this passage annoyed me.
For years I thought Jesus was   (and this is embarrassing to admit)
        Rather irritating in his approach
For years, I could just see Pilate shaking his head and thinking,
        "I gave the man a chance and he gave me gobbledygook back"
Thus, for years I quietly shared Pilate's impatience

But today, as we answer the question
I understand Jesus' response.

For the question which Pilate asked     was inadequate.
        And Jesus' answers were a bit more informative than I thought.

Because of the question's limitations, he informed Pilate (and us)
        That his kingdom was "not from this world."

He was saying that he was not like human kings
        The kind that Samuel warned the Israelites about
        Warnings that they ignored in their clamoring for a human king

And he went on to inform Pilate (and us)
        that everyone who belongs to the truth listens to his voice.

What he was saying was,
That he was the king of the Jews
But that he was not that limited
        He was saying that
(despite any disagreement from James Cameron or Leonardo DiCaprio)
                He was the king of the world
                The king not only of the Jews, but also of the gentiles.

Thus, Jesus' answer would have been incomplete whether he had said,
        "I am the king of the Jews."
Or      "I am not the king of the Jews."

Even with that in mind however, we are not yet fully ready
To answer Pilate's question to us.

For the fact that Pilate in his question
limited Christ's kingship to the Jews
is only one reason that for us to give a "yes" or "no" answer would be incomplete.

Pilate's question to us also limited Christ's kingship
        This time to a certain time period
                "Was he the king of the Jews?'

We are made aware of this limitation by our text,
from five verses of the first chapter of the Revelation to John
[Revelation 1: 4b - 8]

"Peace from him
        Who is     Who was              Who is to come."
Jesus Christ is our king - past, present, and future
Jesus Christ    was king,       is king,        and will continue to be king

Now,    you and I can look Pilate in the eyes
and give him our answer to the question he asked
                "Do the people of the Potsdam UMC believe
                        That Jesus was the King of the Jews?"

Our answer is:
"We not only believe that he was king of the Jews
        We believe that he was, he is, and he will be
        King of all the people and all the things in God's world."
And just to be entirely clear, we add
"He is, he was, and he always will be   my king."

Satisfied with our answer, we prepare to go on,
        But are interrupted by an additional question from Pilate.
                "Why should I believe
that you really mean what you just said?"

There is only one way we can convince Pilate that we really believe
        That Jesus Christ
        Is now  was then        and ever will be        our king
                And that we are now and always will be
his servants and his subjects.

That way is to lead lives that reflect
what our words proclaim
and     what he demands of us.

What is it that our king demands of us?
        Love for God and for each other
        Disciple making, Testimony, Humility and Trust in his grace
        Opposition to injustice and oppression in whatever form we encounter them
Stewardship over the gifts given to us
Gathering together to worship, pray, praise, teach, encourage, and serve

And     like all kings
He demands absolute loyalty, obedience, and priority.

Next week we begin a new liturgical year
        By preparing for the long and anxiously expected king to be born
Today, therefore, is the last day of this liturgical year.

And thus today is a day set aside to celebrate
That the one for whose birth we prepare
Was, is, and will always be king.

It is, therefore, a good day for us to contemplate
Whether in the last twelve months
        Our lives could have convinced Pilate or anyone else
That you and I really do believe that Jesus is king.

And it is a good day for us to resolve
that the if the question is asked of us a year from now,
we will be confident that our lives will demonstrate that we do.

That can, and should be
        Our New Liturgical Year's resolution.