Sunday Reflection – Reign of Christ Sunday, November 20, 2022


Jesus on the cross

Luke 23 32 They also led two other criminals to be executed with Jesus. 33 When they arrived at the place called The Skull, they crucified him, along with the criminals, one on his right and the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” They drew lots as a way of dividing up his clothing.

35 The people were standing around watching, but the leaders sneered at him, saying, “He saved others. Let him save himself if he really is the Christ sent from God, the chosen one.”

36 The soldiers also mocked him. They came up to him, offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you really are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”38 Above his head was a notice of the formal charge against him. It read “This is the king of the Jews.”

39 One of the criminals hanging next to Jesus insulted him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

40 Responding, the other criminal spoke harshly to him, “Don’t you fear God, seeing that you’ve also been sentenced to die? 41 We are rightly condemned, for we are receiving the appropriate sentence for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

43 Jesus replied, “I assure you that today you will be with me in paradise.”

Performed by Margaret Whisselle

Kids Korner: Jesus, ‘King of the Judeans’ (November 20th)

Read Luke 23:33-43 with your family.

This week the entire story of Good Friday is the backdrop for the scripture. The part of the video that shows our shorter scripture verse begins at the 2 minute mark.

This is known as ‘Reign of Christ’ Sunday or in some places “Christ the King” Sunday. It is the last day in the church year before we begin again with Advent next week. This is the last time we will hear about the way the writer of the Gospel of Luke saw Jesus for two years, and will move on to the Gospel of Matthew next week. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus made a difference through his teaching and healing ministries, challenged the authorities regularly, and told those with power that they were not acting the way God wanted them to act. And they killed Jesus for his political opinion and his social justice attitudes.

Luke tells that a sign was put on the cross above Jesus’ head, that read “King of the Judeans” (the Bible translators made the mistake of thinking it read “King of the Jews”, but haven’t changed it to Judeans even though we now know better). The Romans and their friends who wanted Jesus dead were mocking him while he was dying on the cross. One of the criminals beside him mocked him too.

However, the criminal on the other side understood that Jesus was bringing everyone a better life and wasn’t the political prisoner that Jesus was accused of being. He asked Jesus for forgiveness and to be part of the next life. Most Hebrew people believed God would one day help the good people return to the Garden of Eden where they wouldn’t have any more troubles. Jesus showed that even those who society decided were ‘bad’ people had the same opportunity to be part of God’s world, and that we didn’t have to wait for it to be some wonderful other place, it could be here in this world if we all worked together to build it.

Just knowing we are in God’s love means we understand what ‘paradise’ means. We know love, and that was the basis of all Jesus’ teachings about God and about serving each other.

Kids Korner: Pilate questions Jesus (November 21st)

Read John 18:33-37 with your family. This week is a little bit different from normal because we aren’t organizing worship around the Bible story, but are picking a Bible story with the word “King” in it to talk about the Reign of Christ Sunday, which is always the last Sunday in the Christian year.

Pilate asks Jesus what he did that has made everyone angry, and Jesus says he was just doing what he was supposed to do by sharing the truth. Finally Pilate asks Jesus if he really is a King… because Pilate know the Roman government will be angry with anyone who tells the world he is the new King. Jesus doesn’t answer, he just tells Pilate that those are Pilate’s words, not the words of Jesus.

Sometimes old words make it confusing to understand what Jesus wants to teach us, so how about we change the word “kingdom” for Community, and “king” for Friend. Now what does that tell us about the world Jesus wants us to live in?