The King is coming!
When my daughter Liz was about four she sent a letter to the Queen inviting her to come and have tea. She had said in her letter that it was nice that the Queen had the same name as her.
A few weeks later to our complete surprise we had a letter through the letter box and on the envelope was the Royal Coat of arms. (I was hoping to bring the letter with me but my wife tells me that we may have given it to our daughter who is now 27)
Slightly nervously we opened the envelope and discovered a letter No not from the Queen, but from one of her Ladies in Waiting as they are called and it said that whilst Her majesty was sadly not available to join my daughter for tea, she had been very pleased tyo receive the invitation.
To know that the Queen was coming to tea, would have been amazing.
I don’t know how many of you have seen the film the King’s speech released earlier this year; about a man who helped King George VI with a speech defect.
There is a scene in the film I would like you to see in which King George and his wife (who most of us knew as the queen mother) visited the speech therapist in their London home. The only problem was the therapist had failed to tell his wife.
I would like you to place yourself in their position. I thought she did slightly better than I would have done.
It would be something to have the King come
But it would also have needed some preparation.
· I know that we would have wanted to clean the house.
· We would have wanted to have a really good tea laid on.
· We would have wanted to think about what we would say
· We would probably have needed to let the neighbours know
· It is possible that others would have found out too.
But sadly we know that such visits are few and far between.
2. The response to the King coming
In the bible we see different responses to the news that the King was coming. We saw Mary last week respond first with fear and then with obedience and trust.
What of others?
What words can we use to describe the reactions of others as recorded in the Bible account of Jesus coming.
What of Joseph in Matthew Ch 1:19
Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
What of Elizabethin Luke 1:41
Lk 1:41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Lk 1:42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!
Lk 1:43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
Lk 1:44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
Lk 1:45 Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”
Or The Magiin Matthew 2:1
Mt 2:1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem
Mt 2:2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
Herodin the same chapter
Mt 2:3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.
Zechariah the Priest who also had news of the King comingin Luke 1
Lk 1:18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
Lk 1:19 The angel answered, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.
Lk 1:20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.”
Shepherdsin Luke 2:8
Lk 2:8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
Lk 2:9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
But then they met the King
Lk 2:20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Simeon & AnnaLuke 2:28
Lk 2:28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
Lk 2:29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss your servant in peace.
Lk 2:30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
Lk 2:31 which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
Lk 2:32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.”
So we see Fear, disbelief, terror, anger, joy, praise worship and faith.
3. Can we expect any difference today?
Can we see all these emotions in those around us in response to the Coming King and some of those reactions in us too?
Absolutely we can.
The idea of Jesus the King actually being present and real and here, causes all the reactions and we saw this in the weeks and months leading to His birth in Bethlehem.
How we deal with the reactions we see today as WE share this news is almost as important as the news itself.
We can demonstrate
· courage in the face of hostility
· Confidence in the face of opposition
· Love in the face of fear
We live in a secular state but that does not mean that we need be silent or intimidated or sidelined or for one moment feel the need to apologise for the truth.
We need to be ready always ready to respond to the news that the King is coming. But how can we do this?
4. Always Ready
When some of the leadership were at a conference last month we heard an inspiring message from an Argentinian Preacher who talked about… wait for it … our relationship with the Holy Spirit.
One passage he used was a story Jesus told about ten young bridesmaids waiting for the wedding. It was late at night and they had oil lamps to light their way when the groom finally arrived, but some of the bridesmaids had not bought any spare oil.
Mt 25:6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Mt 25:7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps.
Mt 25:8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
Mt 25:9 “ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
Our Argentinian friend Xavier explained that whilst there was oil in the lamp, the wick would not burn away, but once the oil was all gone, it would be the wick that would burn away.
The oil in this story is intended to speak of the work of the Holy Spirit in us- If we are constantly filled, we can face all that comes our way. The wick is representative of our strength and at the core of us. If the Holy Spirit is not at work then we will start trying to work in our own strength and not be ready for the King’s call on us.
5. The King is coming so have a Spirit Filled Christmas
My prayer is that we would all have a Christmas filled with the Holy Spirit. A christmas in which we respond to the news that the King is coming with the courage shown by Mary, the Faith & Obedience shown by Joseph and the joy shown by the shepherds and Simeon.
There are so many things that can distract us,
· All those things that Jesus never intended a celebration of His birthday to be
· Too much of all that the world promotes
· And not enough of Him, not enough of His Holy Spirit.
For God so Loved the world that He gave His one and only son so that whoever believe in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.
Now I am aware that in some families and for some individuals the challenges at Christmas time are very real.
· The need for peace within the family
· The need for wisdom with finance over the Christmas period
· The need for time separated out to truly remember and celebrate the birth of Christ.
· Christmas can also be a time when memories of people we have lost or who are sick seem so sharp.
· A time when you might be in danger of being lonely