On Christ the King Sunday, we have the opportunity to gather around his throne and see how Jesus is unlike any other king who ever has been or ever will be. We celebrate his awesome reign as king in every age and season of life on earth and in the eternal age to come in heaven. And we look forward to the day when we will see Christ the King with our own eyes!
Fruit doesn't last. Maybe you've discovered that peach with the fuzz that isn't supposed to be there, that forgotten apple that has turned to mush in your refrigerator. All you can do it throw it away and clean up the mess. But Jesus says that he has chosen us to bear fruit that will last (John 15:16). How do we produce such lasting fruit, and what does it look like?
"It is good for us to be here," Peter said on the mountain that day (Luke 9:33). He didn't want the moment to end--that moment in the presence of the glory of God, listening to his Lord and God's holy prophets. Peter was right. It is good for all of God's people to see God's glory. When days are dark and difficult, that glory assures us that everything will be okay. When death and disappointment cast their shadow over us, that glory provides light and hope that will never go out.
There is nothing the devil wants more than to divide the house of God-the Church. If it is divided, he knows it is weakened and he is in a much better position to attack. The house of God is divided in so many ways: sinful attitudes and behaviors, false teachings, misunderstandings, and more. In this week's worship, we see the devil at work to divide God's house and Jesus' work to overcome the devil.
Light and darkness are polar opposites. Where one advances, the other must retreat. Thus, they parallel the ultimate of polar opposites—good and evil, holiness and sin. Ever since mankind fell into sin, God promised to send a great Light to pierce the darkness of sin and death.
Imagine what it must have been like for him. He left heaven to rescue those who sinned against him. But many rejected him and even tried to stop him from doing what he came to do. How often he must have been tempted to give up, to abort the mission. But nothing would stand in his way. In his determination, we see his love and find hope and strength to go on when we feel like giving up.
So many families and homes are "broken" these days that, as a society, we hardly call them "broken" anymore. And the problem is only getting worse. The reality is that, in comparison to God's perfect design for the family, every family is broken. The only solution is to stop and look at the beautiful blueprints of God's design, blueprints made even more beautiful, when they are stained with the crimson blood of our Savior.
It can seem easy to trust in God when things are going well. But what about when things are not going so well? What about when your life or the life of someone you love hangs in the balance? What is in your heart in those moments? Fear? Worry? Sorrow? Perhaps, but through his Word the Holy Spirit puts one more thing there: Faith. And that makes all the difference.
Lent is for sinners. Nothing that Jesus suffers in his Passion is because of his own guilt. God gave Israel and Judah everything, and they threw it all away. So what does God do? He establishes a new covenant--a covenant by which he judges and condemns his own innocent Son just for sinners, just for you and me. It's a beautiful covenant straight from the heart of God, signed in the blood of his own Son. Let's follow after him and embrace him in this new covenant in these remaining days of Lent!
Christmas is a season of lights. The lights we see bring a smile to our faces and warmth to our hearts. The twinkling of Christmas tree lights and the glitter of tinsel reminds us of Light of the world who came to dispel the darkness of unbelief with the light of the gospel. Seeing his light brings unfading light and lasting joy to our hearts.
Love is rarely a gift. Typically, when you love someone, it is because you get something in return. You love your spouse in part because of the support and affection he shows to you. You love your favorite teacher because of what she gives you by making learning enjoyable. You love your dog because he is a loyal companion. In such cases, love is not a gift. It is something that is merited… deserved. Now, if you loved a spouse who always treated you like dirt, loved a teacher who taught you nothing, loved a dog that daily bit you, then your love would be a gift. If you love someone who gives you nothing in return, who makes your existence more difficult, then your love is a gift. You are showing undeserved love, which Scripture calls grace.
Love is rarely a gift. However, with God, his love is always a gift. God the Father looks at humanity and he sees us doing the evil we should not do. Just as bad, he sees us failing to do the good that we ought to do. Do we make God’s existence easier? No. Instead, God the Son took on human flesh and suffered and died to make atonement for our sins. Yet, he did so gladly. Why? Love! Love that is undeserved. The gift of love!