Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with your and the Holy Spirit one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
It’s interesting to note that a portion of today’s Gospel lesson in the same that we will hear again at the end of the year on what we call Christ the King Sunday. That is a day on the church calendar when we celebrate the kingship of Christ. The color for the day is white which indicates that it is meant to be a festive day. And yet here we are today remembering the same King of Kings with a bare altar and a cross draped in black as we mourn the death of Jesus on the cross.
In the book of Genesis, we have the story of Abraham taking his only son, Isaac, to be offered up as a sacrifice. Abraham was doing this at the instruction of God who was testing Abraham’s faith. Abraham and Sarah had waited many years for God to fulfill his promise that, through their son, his descendents would come to outnumber the stars in the sky and the sands of the seas.
After many years of waiting, a son was born to the joy of his parents. And yet, now God is calling for Isaac to be offered up as a sacrifice and we watch as the father and son make the trek to Mt. Moriah as God had directed. We watch as Isaac is required to carry the wood for the sacrifice up the mountain. We watch as the boy is bound and placed on the wooden altar. And we watch as Abraham raises his knife above the boy with his intent to make the desired offering to God.
Now let’s consider some comparisons with another son who was called to become a sacrifice. At the direction of his father, Jesus carried the wood that would become the altar of his crucifixion up a hillside. We watch as he was bound to that altar with spikes through his hands and feet. The only difference is that God chose to spare Isaac by providing an alternate sacrifice. Whereas with Jesus, he became the perfect sacrifice for all of mankind.
On Christ the King Sunday, we tend to stop and ask the question, “what kind of king will Jesus be?” In our Gospel lesson we hear Pilate asking Jesus, “are you the king of the Jews?” Pilate then attempted in every way possible to place the responsibility for Jesus’ fate on others. He attempted to evade the need to deal with Jesus. And we know that man has followed that same path throughout history. In fact, it is amazing the depths to which some will go in an attempt to put off dealing with Jesus in their own lives.
Jesus told Pilate that he had come to testify to the truth, but Pilate couldn’t comprehend the meaning of Jesus’ words. Then Jesus said those familiar words “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
I suspect that we still have many today who fail to see the truth that can only be found in Jesus. It eluded Pilate and it still eludes many today even though it is within the grasp of the simplest of minds.
So what is truth? It is the belief in Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, crucified under Pontius Pilate, descended into hell, resurrected on the third day and who today sits on the throne at the right hand of God Almighty.
May we reflect on these words as we prepare ourselves for the celebration on Easter morning when we rejoice in the resurrection of the Lamb of God, the King of Kings…the one who claimed to be the truth, the way and the life. Today we remember his death. But as we look forward to Easter morning may we also remember his resurrection and know that God is good…all the time.
An Act of Spiritual Communion
“My Jesus, I belie that you are present in the holy sacrament of your body and blood. I love you above all things and I desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot at this time receive you sacramentally, I invite you to come spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were here with me and I unite myself with you fully. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.
A Prayer for the Church and Benediction:
Almighty and everliving God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth, hear our prayers this parish family. Strengthen the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore the penitent. Grant us all things necessary for our common life, and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within your holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.