On the Cross Jesus shows us how God reigns over His Kingdom with love. The Reign of Christ that we celebrate today is a spiritual time that began 2000 years ago on the Cross and will continue to the end of time. The Prophet Jeremiah reminds us of why Jesus had to come. The Apostle Paul explains who Jesus is. The thief on the cross models how to come into this spiritual kingdom that is both visible and invisible.
1. Jeremiah explains why God had to intervene
His prophecy is a stinging rebuke to the priests and teachers of his time – and some in our time:
· "…destroying and scattering the sheep…" (Jeremiah 23.1)
· Jeremiah gives the people hope by prophesying that God would intervene and "…gather a remnant…" (Jeremiah 23.3) This is what people were waiting for when Jesus was born.
· This is what the many Christians who have left the Church are looking for now
2. The thief on the cross models how to enter this spiritual Kingdom of God
The nation of Israel was to be a visible sign of the Kingdom of God - God was to be their real king. This is why prophets were respected. On the Cross Jesus is speaking between the visible and invisible parts of this Kingdom. Both he and the thief are on their way out of the physical world through death. The thief does two amazing things that Jesus declares will put them together in the invisible part of the Kingdom that same day:
First, he acknowledges his sins.
· This is the hardest think many people ever do.
· We are naturally experts at deceiving ourselves into thinking we do not have any sins.
· I learned about self-deception the hard way
· We are distracted deceived by the temptations of materialism, power and therapy (ABC)
Secondly the thief on the cross turns to Jesus and puts his hope in Him for being saved.
· It is not very elegant, but his heart is in the right place.
· He turns to Jesus and puts his hope or trust in Him
· Like many people he had learned he could not manage by depending on himself
· He had run out of alternatives
· It was his “Come to Jesus time.
3. Paul explains who Jesus is
Paul corrects the very popular heresy Jesus was just a good man and a wonderful teacher – and not divine:
· Jesus "…is the visible likeness of the invisible God…" (Colossians 1.15) or what God would look like and act like if God was in human form.
· Jesus is "…the head of the Church, his body and the "source of its life" (1.18).
· Holy Spirit is the Spirit or continuing presence of Jesus with each of us in our daily lives
· This is what we live on and guides us as members of the Kingdom of God! Thanks be to God!!!