Who You Are Waiting For

Rev. Kathryn Foster Avatar

Today is called “The Reign of Christ” Sunday or “Christ the King” on the liturgical year.

A couple of weeks ago, Carter, our lead pastor, asked the question in his sermon, “Who ARE you waiting for?” It is a good question, with all the mystery surrounding our faith. This week, I thought I might add some answers to that.  So, I am going to try to tell you, “Who YOU ARE waiting for” according to biblical scriptures.

Of course, who we are waiting for is Jesus Christ.
However, there is more to “who” than a name: There is “king” attached to that name.

We do not think much about kings in the country. We have not had to answer to a king for almost 250 years. But for more than ten times that long before that, our families did live under that “rule.”

What is a king? The chief authority over a country, nation, or people. People address them as “your majesty.” They are sovereign rulers… emperors/empires…. One person over everybody.

Why don’t we think much of kings in the country? What is the problem with kings?

They take advantage of people. The power makes them abusive of their own people.

Is that sinful? Is it ok for Christ to have power, but not for anyone else?

Our Deuteronomy scripture this morning is one that is not often read in church because it is not in the Lectionary – (a list of texts that is supposed reduce the repetitiveness of the bible and follow from start to finish, the life of Christ and Jewish festivals.) The Lectionary listing is commonly used in churches; therefore, you will not often hear of these verses. Whole books of the bible are not in lectionary.

This scripture is NOT one that is repetitive. It is unique. It gives a job description for the king God approves of. It is, one could say, God’s policy for having a king.

 What are the main ideas?

  1. God must choose the king who must….
  2. …. be a person from your community – not an outsider.
  3. …..not have too many horses, or wives.
  4. …. not be too wealthy.
  5. …..write down the law while the priests watch and keep it nearby.
  6. …..daily read the law …..and keep it accurately.
  7. …..not “exalt themselves” over other people in the community.

Does that sound like any king you have ever heard of? Have you ever heard this as God’s policy for the head of state? Do you think Jesus was familiar with it? Likely.

There is no other scripture like this in the New Testament, and nothing more about this in the Old Testament. Huh. I don’t wonder why. Who wants to be a king with those restrictions?

Now, if you read the bible, the whole bible that is, you will find out very quickly that none of the ancient Israelite kings took this job description to heart from the very beginning. Not Saul, Not David, Not Solomon. You can read this for yourself if you want to.

As I said, we do not think much of kings in these United States, do we? Our country is founded on the idea of “rule of law” or the law itself is king. In that respect, we revere our laws as primary in our government. We can see here that God also thinks law is highly important.

How close are these to our requirements for head of state here in the US? —1. not a foreigner, 2. Oath to follow the law – the constitution. 3.  be at least 35 years of age. (matured)

In light of the idea that we are waiting for the return of Christ the King, here is the million -dollar question:  Will the reign of Christ be like this policy?

Well, we know that we have to interpret scriptures using all the other scriptures, as well as use patterns and modalities, NOT reading it out of context. Do Christ’s methods match up with Deuteronomy 17?

This is what our Scriptures tell us about WHO is Jesus Christ. And HOW Jesus will reign/or already does from heavenly places: (summarized – transcript of sources available)

  1. Christ will arrive back to earth first in the sky.
  2. Christ will share the power with the elect.
  3. Christ will unify the people with God’s excellent ways.
  4. Ultimate Power will belong to Christ, the King of the whole universe.
  5. Christ will be humble, peaceful and not an exalted king.
  6. Christ will uphold the poor and needy (will there be these?)
  7. Christ will reign wisely, faithfully, with justice and righteous, bringing safety, security and knowledge.
  8. Christ’s will stop people arguing.
  9. Christ will exhibit the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
  10. Christ will bring peace, be equitable, freedom loving, discerning, understanding and bring prosperity.
  11. Christ will sit on a throne as king subjecting all enemies to God – including the enemy of death!
  12. Christ will bring us new bodies that are eternal like those in heaven.

Jesus said there would not be marriage in Matthew 22:30. And many horses? Well, that likely means military and horses are not used for that even now. Wealth will be equitable.

That covers it; God is following this paradigm. Do you want this?
Are you here because you want this?

There certainly are mysteries involved. Just exactly how is all this going to take place?

The reign of Christ will bring in a government (see Isaiah 9) of peace that we look for. Are we ready for God to reign on earth like this?

Can we change our thinking to accommodate this idea of kingship; an idea that internalizes God’s policies? As far as I can tell, kings and dictators have never done this.

How close are we getting to God’s policy here in America? With the founding of this democratic republic, we share power, we follow the law, we choose one of our own, and that person is to be under the rule of law just like the rest of us – not exalted over us.

Sounds like we’re trying.

A story is told about George Washington (loc), and how the king of England at the time, George III, responded when he learned that Washington, upon completing military service, and two terms as president, relinquished his authority and went home to Mount Vernon. The King exclaimed that if he did this he was, “the most distinguished of any man living, and… the greatest character of the age.” While George Washington was wealthy, Martha also, he was a principled man. The only president to free his slaves.[1]

“The greatest character of the age….. the only president to free his slaves….”

This was our first US President of these United States!

Jesus told Pilate, “My kingdom is not from this world.” And Pilate says, “Ah hah! So, you ARE a king!” (The idea of any other king always irritates other kings or rulers.)

Jesus responds, that is what you call me – that is your paradigm. I was born here so that truth could become reality. Anyone who wants that truth to become reality listens to my voice.

Jesus came for truth to be known. This is WHO you are waiting for.

In our definition, or practice, of kingship, king is more like a dictator; what that dictator says, happens. They exalt themselves above others; they are wealthy; they control the military (horses); they get what they want for their pleasures; they decide what is true and lawful.

This is not the King that God is sending to us in Christ. Jesus the King is humble, will share the power and wealth; Jesus will uphold what is true, and right, for everyone. But, how?

Our nation’s Founding Fathers recognized truth when they wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, 1. that all (men meaning, people) are Created…/and 2. Equal…, / and 3. that they are gifted by their Creator 4.  And with certain Rights.

Our human dignity, rights and freedoms come to us not from our President, our Congress, or our Supreme Court, they come to us from God, our Creator. (Declaration of Independence.)

In his conversation with Pilate, Jesus finally does imply that he is a king. BUT “My kingdom,” he explains, “is not of this world.” Not of this world. NOT LIKE HOW WE DO THINGS HERE.

One last thought: Have you ever spoken with someone who has had a near-death experience? A person who claims to have met God or Jesus in this spiritual experience? Some are quite credible people. NO ONE wants to come back from that place. Everyone who meets Jesus, their whole lives revealed (good, bad, ugly), understands about the love, peace, justice, wonder of Christ.

This is the King we wait for…. One who is not like us, but like us, having been in human form.

I will have more to say on this subject the next time I preach on Dec 17th. Stay tuned for part 2 when, even in a weary world, we can still be amazed.

THIS WONDER of a PERSON is WHO you are waiting for.  Amen.