What Kind of a Strange King is this?
1 Samuel 16:1-13 & Luke 23:35-43
For those who might not know it, this Sunday is officially the last Sunday of the Churches Liturgical Year. Next Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent which is the First Sunday of the new Liturgical year as we start the journey to Christmas. But on the last Sunday of the Churches year, the theme that is normally look at is Christ the King. Or the Reign of Christ as King. And so this Sunday at our Church Services in Banbridge and Dromore we will be exploring the concept of Kingship…
The sermon takes place in two parts:
PART I: Children’s Address
I wonder who knows when the coronation of the King will take place?
I see on the Royal Website is says that Coronation of His Majesty The King will take place on Saturday 6th May, next year.
I wonder what is going to happen?
I looked it up on the internet. I see that 6 things are going to happen on that day:
1. All the people present need to recognise him as King and the way they do that will be to say together: “God save King Charles”
2. The oath, - The King will take an Oath / make a promise to service his people faithfully with God’s help
3. The anointing, - The King will be anointed with special oil that has been prayed over. Not just cooking oil. It will be mixed with lovely smelling oil.
4. The crowning, - The King will be crowned and given other special items that show he is King
5. The enthronement – The King will be led to the throne where he will sit
6. The homage – the people will come and bow in front of King Charles to show their respect.
In the Old Testament Book of Samuel, God told the prophet Samuel to find some oil and go to a man named Jesse because one of his sons was to be anointed as king.
When the Prophet Samuel arrived Jesse brought out all of his sons to see which one was going to be anointed God’s king. The prophet started with the oldest. God said no, this isn’t the one to be King. The the prophet went to the tallest. God said, no, this isn’t the one to be King. Then the prophet went to the strongest. God said, no, this isn’t the one to be King. And so the prophet went through all 7 of Jesse’s son’s but none of them were God’s choice.
The prophet said to Jesse… are these all your sons? Do you have any other son’s? Yes, he replied. My youngest son is David. He is looking after the sheep. And so they called David. God said to the prophet! Yes! This is the one I have chosen to be King. And the Prophet anointed David with oil.
Let us pray. Thank you God for this story that shows that you don’t only choose the oldest, or the strongest or the tallest, but in David, you chose the youngest, the smallest and the weakest to be your chosen King. Amen.
The story of the anointing of David is a very significant one in the Bible. According to the Biblical Narrative, it was never God’s intention for Israel to have a King. But all other nations had Kings and so Israel wanted a king also. The people pleaded with Samuel to anoint a King. God spoke to Samuel the prophet and told Samuel to tell the people that this was not a very good idea.
The King will tax you and he will make your sons serve in his army. It is not a good idea. But according to the story, the people insisted that they wanted a King like all the other nations. Eventually God gave in and Samuel anointed Saul as King. At first it all went ok, but the longer Saul was King, the more things didn’t go well. The power went to Saul’s head and he turned out to be not such a good king after all.
The story of the anointing of David reveals that God’s choice for a King was different from the way people choose a King. God chosen the unexpected son of Jesse, the youngest. Overlooking the older and stronger brothers. The story reveals that God doesn’t look at outward appearances. God looks at the heart. God’s priorities and values are not our priorities and values.
But even though David was mostly a good King, David was not a perfect King. He made some pretty big mistakes. The older he got, the less effective he was at being a good King. The rest of the Old Testament is really about the failure of the Israelite Kings to lead God’s people properly. Solomon David’s son loved wealth. And with his high taxes he brought people to their knees. From there they split into two Kingdoms. The Kingdom of Israel in the North and the Kingdom of Judah in the South. Relations were not always good.
As the Old Testament story continues there is a growing hope that God will anoint a new King. Who will rule justly and properly.
The New Testament is the story of the coming of this new king: It is Jesus.
But even more than David, he is not what people expect in a King. Jesus comes to serve, not to be served like most Kings think.
Across the Gospel stories, most of the 6 things that will happen at King Charles’s coronation happen to Jesus.
In the New Testament, the moment of Jesus baptism, is the moment he is chosen to be King. (In our baptisms, we too are chosen to become part of God’s royal family with Jesus). At his baptism he is chosen to be King: “This is my Son”. Some say he is also anointed at this moment to become King… anointed not with oil, but with God’s Spirit who comes down in the form of a dove. Later on, an unknown women will anoint his head with oil, just a few days before he dies on the cross.
When Jesus is tempted in the desert, that is the moment of his oath. He will serve God and God alone.
When Jesus rides into Jerusalem (not on a war horse but on a donkey), he is acclaimed as King: The people say, Hosanna! God bless the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory to God!”
Next Jesus is crowned, but not with a crown of gold, but a crown of thorns.
Next, the soldiers pay homage to him, but they do so by abusing him and making fun of him.
Next Jesus is enthroned, but not on a throne made of gold and jewels, but on a cross which he is made to carry himself all the way to the place where he is crucified.
Some might say that Jesus’ enthronement took place in two parts: Part one was on the cross; Part two was in his resurrection. Some might say that Jesus enthronement takes place in 3 parts, first on the cross, then in his resurrection, and lastly it needs to take place in our hearts.
I don’t know about you, but this is a story that turns upside down all that we thought we knew about what it means to be a King. A crown of thorns and enthroned firstly on a cross. What kind of a strange King is this?
The question is: Will we follow this King? Will we allow this King, God’s chosen King to be enthroned on our hearts?
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