Fourth Sunday of End Time—Christ the King
Jesus Will Reign Forever and Ever
These are the readings for the Fourth Sunday of End Time—Christ the King.
(This Worship Help aligns with the lectionary readings from Christian Worship 1993 and Christian Worship: Supplement.)
God’s Word for This Week
Murderous criminals usually do not relax in lush gardens with kings. But King Jesus told the suddenly repentant man on the cross next to him: “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” What royalty! What grace!
Traditional First Lesson – Jeremiah 23:2-6
In verses 2 to 4, what three promises does the Lord make us?
In 23:2-4, the LORD promises that he personally will gather his people together. He also promises that he will give us good shepherds (spiritual leaders, such as pastors). Through them he will tend us, so that none of us will be terrified or missing.
What kind of king should we expect Jesus to be? (See 5-6.)
We should not expect Jesus to be a king like any other king. He is no self-aggrandizing political ruler. He is a Branch, a weak-looking descendant of King David, who sprouted from the stump of David’s tree. He lived and died in our place as true man and true God to be the LORD Our Righteousness.
Supplemental First Lesson – Genesis 49:8-12
What two things will not depart from the Judah and his tribe until the promised Savior comes? (See 49:10.)
Jacob prophesies that the royal scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff. (That is, the situation will not be like the modern British monarchy, which has royal honors but does not have the power that the Prime Minister has. Real royal rule will remain.)
Judah will not have to chase here and there. The tribe will settle down in peace, Jacob prophesies. How prosperous will the tribe be? (See 49:11-12.)
The tribe will be so prosperous that it will do something staggering: wash its garments in wine, not water. Think: Even greater riches, eternal riches of God’s grace, are ours in Christ.
Second Lesson – Colossians 1:13-20
To which kingdom did we once belong?
We used to be under the dominion of darkness. Satan and his forces dominated our hearts. Hell and its pitch-dark fires were our only destination.
What kind of kingdom are we in now? (See 1:14-16.)
Then God rescued us and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. He forgave all our sins in Christ by bringing us to trust in him.
In what two areas is Jesus clearly, totally supreme? (See verses 15-17, and verses 18-20.)
Jesus is supreme in creating and supreme in redeeming. The Father made all things through him, and in him all things still hold together. (All things!) Through Jesus and his blood God also made peace with all his rebellious creatures.
Gospel – Luke 23:35-43
One criminal hurled insults at Jesus. How were his words horribly ironic? (See 23:39.)
Ironically, that criminal recognized Jesus as God’s anointed King, the Christ. He did not trust in Jesus to be his substitute under God’s judgment though. He railed at Christ for not saving him. Yet Jesus was suffering and dying to save him at that very moment.
How long will it take for you to get to paradise when you die? (See 23:43.)
The moment you die, you will be in paradise due to Jesus’ death in your place. Even better: you will be with King Jesus in paradise. Trust his promise totally!