A digital version of this week’s worship bulletin and sermon.




GATHERING SONG                      “Rejoice, for Christ Is King!”                    red book # 430


KYRIE                                                                                                    red book page 184 (set 8)






LUKE 23:33-43

SERMON                                                                                                      Pastor Chris Halverson

Christ the King Sunday


Martin Luther writes, “Don’t call yourself a theologian if you think the things of God are plain to see.”

And “Call yourself a theologian if you see God at work only through the Cross of Christ.”

And on this Christ the King Sunday, as we end the church year and bid the Gospel of Luke farewell for a couple of year, it is worth considering that cross and considering how Christ is King there.


Look there, a man, beaten, drug to Golgotha.

Kind of a little guy, strung up there between the other two.

Hmmm. They are nailing something over him. I can’t quite see what it says, let’s get a little closer.

(Strain neck) It says, “This is the King of the Jews.”


Imagine that, if God works in that way.

If this fellow on the cross is the King.

If Jesus Christ is the King.

         Imagine, Christ the King.




Christ the King… the Sovereign of the Kingdom of God.


He Can’t save himself

Look, he can’t save himself, people spit that at him three times, “You can’t save yourself, you can’t save yourself, you can’t save yourself.” What agony to be trapped and kidnapped and helpless up there on the cross.


… yet he is on a rescue mission to save us from the power of darkness. Imagine it,

right here this helplessness and captivity on the cross,

is for you, for me.

It is a military action to saved kidnapped kin.

We are bound and captured and he comes bravely to save us, by being bound and captured.


King of the Jews

Christ proclaimed King on the cross. Thorns a crown, crucifixion his coronation—the strangest king you’ll ever see, at court with criminals and executioners.


Yet there he is, going out as to war on our account. Fighting that final battle for us, changing the borders of spiritual kingdoms and countries, forever.

We have not moved, but the King has conquered, and in conquering the border has moved underneath us and we are transferred into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son.

Our allegiances, once to the powers that defy God, have shifted into the hands of Christ Jesus, and he won’t let them steal us away.


Father forgive them

He shouts to God to forgive them, even as they do the unforgivable.

To the human eye it might seem a great sign of weakness, to forgive.


He judges from the throne of God, and that judgment is redemption… it’s a sister saying “he’s all right,” a Cousin coming to your aid when accused and alone. A Kinperson-redeemer like I talked about 2 weeks ago.

It is this strange thing only He could do…

He is the Victim, Judge, and Defense Attorney,

and on all those accounts he sides with us without any good reason beyond that we are His.

Our murder of him is accepted as a sacrifice of forgiveness, even for that bloody crime, that sin.


Divide clothing

They divide his clothing—tore his cloak, tore these things created by human hands to provide protection and dignity, small reminders that we are made in the image of God.


They tore at the image of God, the 1st born of creation… and could not rip him asunder.

All things, including that cloak, were created in and by him. He is the blueprint all this is based off of

and the Architect, Engineer, Carpenter, and General Contractor who constructed it.

He’s the cosmic glue that holds it all together—the mortar, the tape, the needle and thread.

All these things that so often feel like they are flying apart and are so different and divided, all of it, finds a unity in him.



There among soldiers, soldiers set to steal his life, mocking him and showing off the power of war—trumpeting that force and steel and the threat of death is the strongest of things.

There we are confronted by a still stronger force—a force found in the weakness of God.

That it was God’s good pleasure to dwell in that man on the cross, and through him He reconciled the world

—all things, from the heights of heaven to the lowest valley and ocean depths, has made peace with God, peace through God’s own death on the cross. A peace stronger than any war.



There he hangs, condemned with criminals, dying as a crook…. God on death row.


And he was pleased to dwell there, so that his unjust death might justify us all, his blood covering our bloody crime.


There with a criminal who cries, “remember me, when you come into your Kingdom.” Holding out one last hopeful request even as he dies.


Jesus there among the dying,

because they need to know he’s there with them,

We need to know that he’s with us.

See through the cross that the first born of the dead dies with them and they will rise with him.

That we are rescue from the darkness, made citizens of the Kingdom of God, redeemed by our brother Christ.

That the very image of God came down for us, into the very concrete reality he is the fabric and foundation of.

That the fullness of God, the head of the Church, the 1st born of the Dead,

is there, is here, with and for us, bringing reconciliation and peace.

That’s what it means that Christ, this man on the cross, is King.


HYMN of the DAY                          “Have You Thanked the Lord?”                      red book # 829






OFFETORY ANTHEM                      “Waiting for a King”



COMMUNION SONGS                      “Lamb of God”

     Also, “Let There be Peace”, red book # 616, red book # 434




SENDING SONG                           “Crown Him with Many Crowns”                   red book # 855