Here is your King....

Sunday, November 20, 2016
Luke 23:33-43
Here is your king.
Words we hear from Pilate at the time of Jesus’ trial.
Pointing to Jesus, 
Jesus who had been arrested, beaten, and upon whose head a crown of thorns had been placed
Pointing to Jesus, as blood trickled down his forehead from the poking of the sharp thorns.
“Here is your king”.
And then today’s reading from Luke - we are led by the author to Golgotha.  To the “Place of the Skull” as it was known.  
And we read: “They crucified him.”
Three simple words.
Three words
Nails pounded into flesh.  Right hand.  Left hand.  
Fastened to the cross bar of the cross.
By a soldier.  Just doing his job, 
ignoring the cries and moans of each of those being nailed to the cross bars of the cross.  
And then the cross-bar is raised up to the verticle which was already in place - cross-bar raised up with dangling, suffering Jesus.
Feet fastened.
And left to hang.
Three words: “They crucified him.”
And behind those words, a depth of suffering.
We see the king.  We hear his words: “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  
Words befitting this king.
Words unknown to many earthly kings.
Kingship re-defined.
And people stood and watched.
Leaders scoffed.
Soldiers mocked
“If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”
Or one might say - 
“If you are the King of the people here, save yourself!”, 
for other than the soldiers, those who were there were Jewish, were the people of the place.
“If you are the King of the people here, save yourself!”
But Jesus had a different plan.
Jesus’ plan, God’s plan, was not an escape from suffering.
No, not at all.  
Jesus was going to walk through suffering, not escape it.
The King was not going to do some petty work and avoid the suffering.
Minute after minute, and minutes into hours
he hung
until he breathed his last.
And as we gaze upon the cross
we know.
We know the depth of Jesus’ love for each of us.
And we know Jesus’ compassion for those in suffering.
Compassion: He is with those in suffering.
Right now, he is with Mexican immigrants in the U.S., filled with anxiety for themselves and family members.
Right now, he is with families visiting in palliative care.
Right now, he is with the cancer patient with pain or with questions.
We know the depth of Jesus’ love for each of us.
And we know Jesus’ compassion for those in suffering.
Right now, he is with First Nation’s People in Québec as they struggle to make sense of the relationship with the Surêté du Québec.  
Right now, he is with peoples in the Philippines and in Central America whose lands are ripped away from them because of foreign mining interests.
Right now, he stands with minority peoples in Canada and the U.S. 
as people with hatred feel freed to speak, and act, in hatred.
Right now.
We know the depth of Jesus’ love for each of us.
And we know Jesus’ compassion for those in suffering.
For we see it on the cross.
Here is your king.
And what do we say??
Is he our King?
Who is our King?
In the times of the Roman Empire, people were expected to say “Caesar is Lord”.
The Christians often refused, saying “Jesus is Lord.”
Which often resulted in imprisonment or death.
Who do we say is King with our lives and our words?
Well, if we are declaring that Jesus is reigning over us, 
then we must be people of compassion.
And we remember that being people of Christ’s compassion does not mean just having compassion for people like us.
It means being compassionate for those who suffer
It means seeing ‘neighbour’
where others see stranger.
It means seeing a being of God’s creation
where others see ‘foreigner’.
And it means seeking Jesus’ kingdom.
As we stand with Jesus,
and thus, as we stand with those who suffer
we reach out our voices and say, together with the one crucified beside Christ:
Jesus, Remember Me, when you come into your Kingdom.