Sermon Details

King Charles, Jesus Christ, and You

April 30, 2023
Wabash Avenue Presbyterian Church in Crawfordsville, IN invites you to join us every week for Sunday morning worship. Today's 3rd Sunday of Easter service will be led by Pastor John Van Nuys and Liturgist Preston Bost. Pastor John's sermon title is "Easter Energy". Hymns and anthem will be led by Jennie Fights Accompaniment, prelude and postlude will be performed by Alan White. Thank you for joining us remotely.
(2) He had no form or majesty that we should notice him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. (3) He was despised and rejected; a man of suffering, acquainted with infirmity; one from whom others hide their faces, and we held him of no account.
(4) Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.
– Isaiah 53:2-5

In 1996, I saw the king, who was then Prince Charles. I was in the back of Westminster Abbey for a public, evensong service. When it ended, Charles, who I didn’t know was there; who was seated in the front, was the first to leave. Charles was deeply tanned and handsomely dressed in a fine, tailored suit with a silk tie and matching pocket square. I was stunned to see him and he was stunning to see.

Undoubtedly, his coronation will be stunning, too. Charles will return to Westminster Abbey to be crowned. A worldwide audience will watch him; an impressive military guard will attend him; an ancient ceremony will crown him; earthly royalty will gather to honor him; thousands will line the streets to cheer him. The occasion will be glorious.

Charles seems like a decent man. His past sins are public knowledge. But his present virtues are equally apparent and seemingly more abundant. He seems to be a devoted husband. He seems to genuinely care for his subjects. His charitable work appears to be done genuinely and generously. He has known heartache; he will now be honored as he is elevated to the position to which he was born: To rule over a kingdom. It’s hard to imagine such power and privilege; wealth and acclaim. It isn’t everyday that you get to witness the coronation and the rising of a king.

Which brings to mind another King, who was born to rule a very different kingdom. That King, our King, doesn’t rule over a diminished empire that once colonized peoples to enrich itself. Our King reigns in an everlasting kingdom to free people; to bless and enrich us all. Our King didn’t appear in majesty, but obscurity. He wasn’t born into privilege in a palace; he was born into poverty in a barn. He wasn’t something to behold – he was nothing to look at. Our King wasn’t given a golden crown to be honored on a throne. He was given a thorny crown to be humiliated on a cross. Our King wasn’t revealed in glory to live in power. Our King was revealed in suffering to die in love.

We mostly ignore, dismiss, and denigrate Jesus because it’s hard for us humanly to see what true majesty is. We think power is power over others. Jesus shows us that true power – God power – is power for others. True power – born of God and incarnate in Jesus – is non-violent love. We think that “power” is foolish and weak, but that wise Love is actually the greatest power of all. Love is the power that raised Jesus from dead. Love is the power that can raise you as well.

All of us want to be King. We all want power to make things go our way. We want control, cash, and acclaim. We want it all. The petty tyrant that wants to rule our lives and to be enthroned in our hearts is our ego.

But by trying to gain it all, we actually lose it all. Even kings like Charles; their rule always ends. All their wealth, honor, and glory – it all goes away. It doesn’t last. When we seek that crud, it doesn’t satisfy us. Those things don’t give us life because they aren’t life.

To really live you have to love. To rule you must serve. To be first, you must be willing to be last: To forgive readily, share generously, and live humbly. That’s the way of Life. That’s the Way of Jesus, whose Life can be yours today – as you give yourself away in love – not to debase yourself needlessly, but so that you can avoid the siren call of the self to have it all.

True power, real life, lasting joy: We find that as we stop pursuing that. When we start serving others, we find real power – God power – the power of Love within us. The more we give it away, the more we have. Because we aren’t caught up in possessing, controlling, and dominating, we become alive and free. We discover peace and we are filled with joy. As we follow the true King, we are given the keys to the kingdom. By following Christ in serving others, we surprisingly find ourselves blessed by love, saved by grace, and crowned with life.

In reading this, your heart may be stirred. What you’re feeling is the Holy Spirit drawing you to Christ. To begin or renew a relationship with Jesus, just pray:

“Lord, help me receive your love. I regret the wrong I’ve done. Forgive me. Jesus, I believe you are God’s Son and the Savior of the world. Be my Savior. Save me from myself. Save me for yourself. Enter my heart. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Help me to serve you faithfully and well. Help me to love as you love. Lead me in your Way, Truth, and Life now and forever. Continue to show me who you are and who I am in you. Amen.”

If you pray this prayer, contact a pastor. They’ll show you how to live for Christ with purpose, peace, and joy. Jesus says: “Behold, I make all things new.” That definitely includes YOU!