The Last Sunday of End Time: Christ the King November 21, 2021
Text: John 18:33-37 CW 3 Year Series B 21:2287
Theme: What Is Truth? Christ Is Heaven’s King.
There was cynicism in Pilate’s voice when he responded to Jesus’ words in our text. He replied: “What is truth?” Not that he desired a trustworthy answer. Perhaps he was afraid to hear it if he did. It was a dismissive response, intended to end the talk that was making Pilate uncomfortable. What is truth?
I. See Him.
Very early that morning, at first faint light, the city of Jerusalem slept. It was the Passover festival. Later that day the streets would hum with thousands of pilgrims on their way to the temple, their Passover lambs in tow. The biggest Jewish festival of the year would begin that night. But now, at early dawn, the city slept, except for a strange procession winding its way to Pilate’s palace.
At its head strode the high priest. Behind him trudged 70 judges of Israel, known as the Sanhedrin. Look carefully at these rulers of God’s people. Do you see in their faces love, self-forgetfulness, the consecration to God that ought to be seen in all leaders? Do you see truth bursting forth? No. Instead, you see greed, selfishness, love of power, cruel ruthlessness, and lies – lies….no truth.
Behind them marched a troop of soldiers. They guard a prisoner. The prisoner droops with weariness; He has had no sleep. All night long the judges questioned Him, and paraded witness upon witness into court to testify against Him with words that bore no truth. They hit Him, spit on Him, slandered Him, but they have not broken Him. The weary prisoner carries Himself unafraid, nor is He angry. There is only love, truth, and trust in His heavenly Father in those tired eyes. Do you see Him?
It is the One by whom the worlds were made. It is the Word made flesh. He came to dwell among us for a while, the only Begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth (Jn.1:14). See Him and the contrast that exists between Him who is from heaven and those who are people of the world.
II. Listen to Him.
They arrive at the palace of the Roman governor. It’s called the Praetorium. The soldiers pound on the gate; the guard within opens it. The procession tramps into the courtyard, but they will not step foot into the palace itself for these pharisaical religious leaders would celebrate the Passover that night and must keep themselves pure and holy for the feast. Only the guards and prisoner go inside.
So, the governor must come out to speak: “What has the prisoner done?” he asks. “He says that He is a king!” they reply. “He won’t allow His followers to pay taxes to our great emperor, Caesar.” O lying tongues that wish to keep themselves pure for the Passover! Pilate reenters the palace where the prisoner waits.
“Are you king to the Jews?” he asks Jesus.
“Are you asking me for your own benefit that you might know the truth, or are you asking me because others told you about me?” Jesus replies. His words weren’t a slam at Pilate. They were an invitation to hear Him and find the truth that is Jesus.
Uneasy, Pilate diverts the conversation: “What have you done?” But Jesus appears to ignore the question in order to pursue His invitation to Pilate to hear Him and see something more in Him.
“My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my attendants would fight (for me) so that I would not be handed over to the Jews. But now my kingdom is not from here.”
That is to say, “I’ve not done anything against Rome. I’m not here to cause a rebellion, nor to take away your rule from you. I am from another place with a heavenly goal in mind. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
“See me. Hear me.” Sadly, Pilate dropped the ball of opportunity and closed the door. He would not pursue any further to see for himself the truth residing in Jesus, Heaven’s King. One has to see it for himself and listen.
When I was young, others brought me to Jesus. My sponsors carried me the baptismal font. When I was unable to respond to the pastor’s question, they answered for me. From that point on, my parents taught me the Word and took me to Sunday school. When I was young, others brought me to Jesus.
But now that I am old, I must see Him for myself. I must listen to Him for myself and not turn away like Pilate did. Jesus invites. He only invites; He never forces me to see the Truth. He Is Heaven’s King, a different kind of King with a different kind of kingdom – not earthly in nature, which so often is false in its dealings, whether in courtrooms, assemblies, or in the world at large. His is a kingdom of everlasting truth in which He forces Himself on no one.
Using force, speaking lies, confusing truth, that’s man’s way. But it’s not God’s way. He won’t force me or you to believe in Him. He won’t force me or you to love Him. He won’t force me or you to follow Him anymore than He forced Pontius Pilate. He doesn’t rule with force for His kingdom is not like those of this world. His is a kingdom of grace, mercy, and eternal truth in which He carries forth no hidden agenda, and in which He incites no fear. He invites; He beckons us to see and to hear for ourselves His truth. This whole church year He has done that, and He will do it again in the year that lies ahead. Heaven’s King beckons us saying, “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My voice.”
III. Follow Him to it.
Do you believe that truth exists? It would seem that Pilate didn’t believe it existed, nor do many people today. Do you see truth carried out in our courts? Do you see truth carried out among our leaders? Do you see people pursuing the truth of God in their daily lives? Are you living the truth? No one follows the truth consistently, but we give in to sin, following our own desires.
“Truth is relative,” people say. “It’s a varying thing, depending on your own circumstance and views. You have your thoughts, I have my thoughts, and who is to say which of us is right. Truth is truth if it’s true for you.”
That’s the lie of Satan. To those who follow Satan’s lie there is no standard by which a matter is judged right or wrong. It’s dependent upon what the worldly individual thinks and not upon a heavenly reality that is divine and cannot be broken. No matter what people try to make it, truth is fact, truth is reality; it does not change according to people’s whims. Truth stands the test of time for its source is the eternal God. Without Him there is no truth.
If you want to know truth, you must follow Jesus in faith, putting aside your views that conflict with His Word. Truth is in Him. Apart from Him there is no truth. Jesus said, “For this reason I was born and for this reason I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to truth listens to my voice.” “I am the way, truth, and life” (Jn.14:6). Since He exists, truth exists, and it is knowable by what He, who is truth, says in His Word. And this is what He tells us.
Man is totally corrupt in his human nature, for, ever since Adam and Eve, he falls from God daily in sin and cannot save himself from it. With man it is impossible, as impossible as it is for a man to pass through the eye of a needle. This is the truth about man.
God longs to gather all people back to Him as children in one family. He is saddened when they go astray. He seeks them when they are lost. To that end He sent His Son, Christ Jesus, to die for sin and rise again to give life with Him. He is love, mercy, and grace. That is truth not found in any systems of this world, whether educational, social, financial, or political. God placed Jesus’ cross at the center of life with Him. This is the truth about God.
If we wish to return to our God and His promise of eternal life held out to us, and if we wish to avoid the torment of separation from Him forever in hell, we will follow the Lord Jesus in faith as our Savior. Then we will live now and forever, restored to Him as His dear children. This is the truth about life eternal. All of it is told to us and was carried out for us by Christ, Heaven’s King.
He stands before me and you every year and gently invites, “Everyone who is of the truth listens to me.” Only He makes us right before God. To this heavenly King we say: “Though I am sin, You, Lord Jesus, are my Righteousness. You took what was mine and gave me what is Thine. You took what I was and gave me what I was not. You forgave and made me Your own. This is the truth which I am not afraid to confess. You are my Savior, my heavenly King. To You alone be the glory, now and forever. Amen.”
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
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The Last Sunday of the Church Year: Christ the King November 21, 2021
“All people will worship Him. His dominion is an eternal dominion that will not pass away, and His Kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:14
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
We extend a warm and sincere welcome in our Savior’s name. Please sign our guest book, located to the right just outside the sanctuary. If you desire more information about Zion Lutheran Church or are in need of spiritual guidance, please call upon our pastor at any time. We are delighted to have you join us today and invite you to return soon.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the King. You are the most excellent of men. Clothe Yourself with splendor and majesty. Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever.” (Psalm 45).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Christ the King. In the calendar of the Church, we have reached the end of another year of grace. The focus on this last Sunday is unique. Today’s lessons are not as much about us and our needs in faith as they are on Christ and who He is. He is our heavenly King.
When the Bible calls Christ our King, it refers to His activity as a king. He rules in power, grace, and glory for the welfare of His people. Because of that we find comfort, joy, hope, and courage through His activity in our lives. No matter where you may find yourself in life, through His work you have an eternal Savior, ruling over all things for the good of those who believe in Him. What better way to end the present church year and begin the new than to sing His praise.
To that end we pray: Lord Jesus Christ, by Your victory You have broken the reign of the evil one in our lives. Fill our hearts with joy and peace as we look with hope to that day when every creature in heaven and earth will acclaim You King of kings and Lord of lords to Your unending praise.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
The Old Testament Lesson: Daniel 7:13,14
The Lord gave Daniel a vision in which he saw the Messiah appear in human form before heaven’s throne. The Eternal One gave Him unlimited rule and lordship over all in a kingdom that will never end. Many from different nations and backgrounds will worship Him.
The Epistle Lesson: Revelation 1:4-8
At a time of great persecution, the Holy Spirit led John to write the book of Revelation. It encourages Christians to remain steadfast in faith. He pointed them to Christ and the eternal future in which the Savior will overthrow the present powers of evil. He is heaven’s King.
The Gospel Lesson: John 18:33-37
As Jesus stood in Pontius Pilate’s courtroom, He confessed that He was a king. But He ruled no earthly kingdom. He is the gracious King of heaven. His rule is an “inner” rule, one of truth. Those who believe in Him know the truth of salvation that lasts for eternity.
O u r P r a c t i c e o f H o l y C o m m u n i o n
The Lord’s Supper is a wonderful gift in which we receive Jesus’ own body and blood to forgive our sins and strengthen us in faith. It is a gift given with certain responsibilities. The Sacrament is intended for those who have been instructed, understand, and confess as one what they are receiving and doing. Through it we express our unity of faith (1 Cor.10:17). Therefore, we ask that only confirmed members of Zion Lutheran Church or our sister congregations of the WELS or ELS approach to receive Communion. If you would like to become a communicant member of Zion or have any questions about our practice, the pastor would be happy to meet with you after the service.
The Organist: Jane Rips The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Point to Ponder: “The Christian Gospel is the most liberating force. Being God’s truth, it delivers men from doubt about God, despair about man, slavery to false goals of living, and fear of death. It is verily the truth which makes men free….We do not go into the intellectual problems of our day tied and bound; Jesus set us free. We know whose we are and whom we serve. We know the type of mind He loved, the type of mind that he gave. And Jesus will be for us, as for those before us. He is heaven’s King!” -– Herbert Lindemann on What Is Truth?
Outline of Our Worship
Opening Hymn: #206
Order of Worship: Service of Word and Sacrament Hymnal page 26
The Ministry of the Word
Hymn Response: #214
The Gospel Response: pg.30
Sermon Hymn: #216
Sermon: John 18:33-37 What Is Truth? – Christ Is Heaven’s King!
Our Response to the Word
The Nicene Creed: page 31
The Offering & Prayers Hymnal page 32
Lord, Bless Us
Order of Holy Communion: Hymnal pages 33-35
(Visitors: Please read box inside about the practice of Holy Communion)
Distribution Hymn: #536
Thanksgiving & Blessing: Hymnal pages 36-37
Closing: Lord, When Your Glory I Shall See
Last Sunday of End Time: Christ the King – Series B
Old Testament: Daniel 7:13,14 – The Coming of the Son of Man
13I kept watching the night visions, and there, in the clouds of heaven, I saw one like a son of man coming. He came to the Ancient of Days, and he was brought before him. 14To him was given dominion, honor, and a kingdom. All peoples, nations, and languages will worship him. His dominion is an eternal dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.
Epistle Lesson: Revelation 1:4-8 – Greeting to the Seven Churches
4Grace to you and peace from him who is, who was, and who is coming, and from the seven spirits that are before his throne, 5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his own blood 6and made us a kingdom and priests to God his Father—to him be the glory and the power forever. Amen.
7Look, he is coming with clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him.
And all the nations of the earth will mourn because of him.
8“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, the one who is, and who was, and who is coming, the Almighty.”
Gospel Lesson: John 18:33-37 – Jesus before Pontius Pilate
33Pilate went back into the Praetorium and summoned Jesus. He asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
34Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own, or did others tell you about me?”
35Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?”
36Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight so that I would not be handed over to the Jews. But now my kingdom is not from here.”
37“You are a king then?” Pilate asked.
Jesus answered, “I am, as you say, a king. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2019 The Wartburg Project.
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Divine Worship Service
with Holy Communion online -Facebook
End Time 4: Christ the King
|7 pm Thanksgiving Eve Worship at Peace
Thanksgiving Day Worship
No Midweek Bible Class,
Confirmation, or choir this week
Divine Worship Service
online – Facebook
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
The majesty of the King of Kings shines forth in our readings for this morning. Jesus rules as King over all things. He deserves all glory, honor and praise. He is the eternal King who will come again in glory to judge. He is the King who left His majestic throne to humbly give His life for His subjects.
The Epistle Lesson: Revelation 1:4-8 (answers are found on the back side)
- According to verses 5 and 6, what has Jesus our King done for us?
- Verse 7 tells us that our King is coming with the clouds and everyone will see Him. What is He coming to do?
- What does it mean that Jesus our King is the “Alpha and the Omega”?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Clyde Johnson; Greg Miller; Lou Schulz; Norine Richardson; Jodi Milam; William & Laurie Moon; Patsy Mickelson; Pauline Jaeger; Dave Ballou now in rehab at Quail Creek Nursing Home; Lois Wiese; Barbara Long; John Workentine, Schulz’s brother-in-law, undergoing lung surgery for cancer tomorrow, also the Schulz’s 6 year old nephew in the hospital with pneumonia; Khendra Murdoch & Jason, her husband.
Advent Devotions Once again the pastors and professors at Martin Luther College have written a series of Advent Devotions that begin on December 1. Pick up a copy in the narthex or fellowship hall. Also, the latest issue of Forward in Christ for November is there, as well as the next series of Meditations Daily Devotions, beginning next Sunday.
No Face Mask Regulations Facemasks are not required in a church setting in Springfield. If you feel more comfortable wearing a face mask, you may certainly do so. Masks, disposable gloves, and sanitizer are in the narthex and the fellowship hall for your use.
Do You Know what’s in the recently published Christian Worship Hymnal? There are vibrant hymns, old and new; liturgical settings that follow the historical pattern of worship; an array of more psalms; personal prayers; daily devotionals; there is even Luther’s Small Catechism. Along with the Psalter book containing settings for all 150 psalms, the recently published Christian Worship Hymnal is rich in devotional materials for both the church and home. We invite you to examine copies in the fellowship hall or go online at https://www.christianworship.com
Thursday, November 25: Thanksgiving Day Worship at 10 am
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 26; Bible Class: 12; Midweek Bible Class: 5; Offerings: $1,811..
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Advent 1 – Christ the King: Jeremiah 33:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13; Luke 19:28-40 (CW 3 Year Series C)
Answers to Today’s Epistle Lesson Brief Study:
- Our King has freed us from sin by His blood. He has made us citizens of His heavenly kingdom. He has made us priests who have the right to approach Him and serve Him. To Him be glory and power forever and ever!
- He is coming to judge the living and the dead. Those who continue to reject Him will see Him. He will send them to their eternal punishment in hell. He will then take His faithful subjects to be with Him forever in His heavenly kingdom.
- The letters Alpha (Α) and Omega (Ω) are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Jesus, our King, is the beginning and the end. He is eternal.
This week I am praying for……