The King of Power
Wed. of Advent 2–vespers
St. Peter Lutheran Church
Ephesians 1:3, 7ff. ; 2 Sam. 7:1f; Psalm 110
Dec. 7, 2011
“The King of Power”
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus reigns over all things, even in the midst of His enemies, for the sake of the Church.
- I would imagine that it’s hard for you to relate with talk about kings and priests.
It’s kind of hard for me too.
We don’t have kings and priests in our experience today.
250 years ago this country got rid of its king.
Plus, aren’t kings a class above everyone else? We don’t want people to
act that way toward us, and we don’t want to act like we’re royalty.
At least, we don’t want people to say we act like we’re kings or queens, right?
So, you may have felt inclined to tune out every time you start hearing about “kings and priests”.
- But even though it’s not part of our experience, it’s still true that Jesus is the Christ—that is, the anointed King. The word of God says so. And having a king is not all bad.
A king who has great power who is also good, just, and wise is a great thing for a country. If he uses power for the good of his people they are blessed—far better off than a democracy in which the majority of voters are immoral, unjust, and foolish. The founders of the United States realized that our country wouldn’t work well if voters were not virtuous. They realized this was why other democracies and republics had failed.
The problem is that so few kings who are given a great deal of power can be trusted with it. Even good people are corrupted when too much power is given to them.
Jesus is the Christ—anointed as king not only of Israel but of all creation, with all power and rule and authority put under His feet.
He has absolute power. But where no one here today or anywhere in the world could be trusted with this kind of power, Jesus is the one man who can be trusted to reign in justice and righteousness.
He showed this by dying on the cross; He went to the depths of God’s wrath and in doing so showed us that we have nothing to fear from this king—nothing to fear except the end of our failed attempt to be the Messiah ourselves.
It’s good for Jesus to be the King. Because He is your Messiah and king, you will be saved. Because our reign is over, because all power is in Jesus’ hands, the Church will not be destroyed.
- Today we heard the promise of the Messiah to David.
God said, You will not build me a house, David. I will build you a house, just like I am the one who took you from running after sheep to be king.
And one of your sons I will establish as king to reign forever. And I will never take my love away from him like I did to Saul. I will punish him with the stripes from men when he does wrong, but I will not cast him off. And so one of your sons will reign forever before me.
That one is Jesus. Solomon had a glorious kingdom and built the temple, but Jesus built the everlasting temple in which God dwells forever. That temple is the church—you. His church is the Kingdom of Grace. There Jesus reigns not with force and wrath and majesty, but with His grace.
He reigns in the church by forgiving sins.
But Jesus is not only Messiah of the Church. He is the king of the whole earth. He reigns also among His enemies—among the devil and those people who do not want Jesus as King and refuse to be part of the Kingdom of grace.
- God has revealed to the church the mystery—the secret of His will.
The world, in its wisdom, does not know how God created the earth. It also doesn’t know how the universe will end.
But you know, because the mystery has been revealed to you by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. You know God created the earth by His Word. And you know what God’s plan is for the universe.
It is to unite everything under one head—Jesus the Messiah.
God wants all people to be saved and live in the light of His face forever. He wants us to live forever—at peace with Him, with one another, and with all creation.
- However, not everyone wants to be united in God’s Kingdom under the King that He has put in place.
People want to go on being their own head and king. By nature people want to rule themselves.
That’s scary when you think about it. Why do people fight? Ultimately isn’t it because we want our will to be done?
And when my will and yours clash, what happens then? We fight.
I think you’ve done me wrong, you think I’ve done you wrong. We try to get other people on our side to condemn the other. We begin to judge and to try to enforce our judgment.
This happens all the time. We try to take Jesus’ place as Messiah, Lord, King, Judge.
And this is rebellion against the King God has placed at His right hand.
Even Christians do this in the flesh, don’t we?
- So Jesus our King reveals this to us in His Word: he reigns as King even among those who do not want Him as their King.
He reigns over the whole universe now.
Everything is under His feet.
And He reigns as head for the good of His Church, which is His body.
We do not see Him reign, but His promise is that He is reigning now, and everything that happens all the time—though it may seem to be horrible—He says that He is working for the good of His body.
He is working that we may receive the riches of His glorious inheritance.
He makes even His enemies, with their evil deeds and will, serve His body the church. When people hate and fight against us, he uses it for our salvation.
He sits at God’s right hand for your good, with wisdom and goodness that we don’t have.
And he hasn’t hidden it from you. He has made known the mystery of His will to you, His bride, just as He has given you everything that is His.
- You have an inheritance in Christ. His power works for you.
So often we say, “I believe Jesus died for my sins. What I don’t know is how to live without being overcome by anxiety or depression or anger.”
Jesus is not the king who simply makes everything better when you die. He is the king who rules at God’s right hand for you now.
He rules in the midst of His enemies, and turns what the enemies of the church mean for evil into blessing for us. They cannot harm us.
Not even your flesh, with its enmity against God and other Christians, can harm you. Jesus makes even the destructive deeds of our flesh turn into blessing.
And because He has revealed to us the mystery of His will, He gives us peace in the storms of life. We know the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega. Our king reigns and unites us and all things with Him in His kingdom. He overcomes our flesh and teaches us faith in Him and love for one another—unity as members of one body. And all of His enemies He will judge with perfect righteousness, casting out every cause of sin from His kingdom.
- Paul prays that we may see the great strength of His power working for us.
The power that raised Jesus from the dead—think of what kind of power that is.
That is what Jesus exercises for us. The world’s one righteous king exercises omnipotent power to save His church.
He also works in us to sanctify and keep us in the true faith.
O let the harps break forth in sound!
Our joy be all with music crowned!
Our voices gladly blending!
For Christ goes with us all the way—
Today, tomorrow, every day—
His love is never-ending.
Sing out, ring out!
Tell the story!
Great is He, the King of glory!
The peace of God, which passes understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.