Colossians 1:13 For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins... 19For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
Today is the Feast of Christ the King, the last Sunday in the Church year, a Sunday which looks forward to the 2nd coming of Christ in Glory, and which also looks forward to the celebrating the 1st coming of Christ, the babe born in Bethlehem. There are 4 verbs which characterize Christ as King, 4 things which he did for us, things that no one else could do, he did, and he did it for us. 4 things which we cannot live without. For in Christ we are delivered, redeemed, reconciled, and at peace. Let me repeat it, in Christ we are delivered, redeemed, reconciled, and at peace; and there is no other path.
Before Christ, we were in the dominion of darkness, it ruled over us, and it was a harsh oppression, there was no choice, there was no hope. Before Christ, we were bound by the debts owed on account of our sin, debts so staggering, that even if we worked as hard as we could, we couldnít even pay the interest, and so we such deeper and deeper into the debt of sin. Before Christ we knew better than to come to the presence of God, for if God were to look at us, all he would see was the size of the debt we owed on account of sin, and seeing such sin, he would have no choice, but to give us the punishment we had earned and deserved. Before Christ, the dominion of darkness, the debt of our sin, and our guilt kept us from ever knowing peace.
Christís rule over and among us put and end to all the old ways, for in Christ we are made a new creation, and given a new life. All this began at our baptism. For baptism is not simple water, but it is water comprehended in Godís command and connected with Godís Word. It is not the water indeed that does this, but the word of God which is in and with the water, and faith which trusts such word of God in the water, that becomes for us the water of life, and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Spirit. Christ rules over all, because all things were created through him and for him, he has a right as creator to rule his creation.
All this is a wonderful thing and a powerful image, and we give thanks to God for this grace which has been showered upon us. But how can we approach, or even worship the unseen all powerful God Almighty? Thus it is again we turn to Jesus, for he is the image of God, and in him the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. So, when w e come to worship, we come to something we can comprehend, at least in part, and while artists have had varying views on what Jesus looked like as a man, somehow there is something about little babies, that makes this picture of Jesus, one of the most approachable. For to look at a baby is to look at life, and hope is stretched out before us. This is something we want to come to. We donít want to think of the cross, to the suffering a death, yet these are form the sacrifice, the price paid that we might be delivered, redeemed, reconciled and at peace with God.
It is through baptism that we are united with Christ in his death, so that we might also be united in his resurrection from the dead, this is what gives us hope, for it teaches us to look beyond death to the new and everlasting life which awaits us, and all who die in Jesus, which somehow brings us back to babies, and pictures of Jesus, signs of hope, and the promise of life.
And who better to turn our lives over to, but the babe of Bethlehem gentle and mild, the prince of peace, strong to save, the bright morning star to lead us as our great good Shepherd, many images of the one savior, the king of kings and lord of lords, our Savior, Jesus Christ, to him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.