“Should”s and “Supposed to”s – Christ the King C – Nov 20 2016

Luke 23:33-45661613189_65be533432_b3

When a king is born, who do you think the king’s parents are?  Well, they were kings and queens themselves – because a king passes down his crown to his oldest child, so a new king is born, his parents are usually a king or a queen already.

When a king is born, where do you think they are born?  In the castle.  When a king is born, who would be around there? All the servants are bustling around.  When a king is born, who usually comes to see the new baby king?  All the fancy people, other kings and queens, and lords, and knights, and the very high up people.  Who follows a king?  Well, only the people that live in the kings kingdom.  If you lived in the king’s kingdom, then you would follow him.  And when a king passes away, when a king dies, where do you think they would die?  Maybe in battle, or maybe in the castle of old age?

Do you think a king would be born in a barn?  No, never, they are supposed to be born in a castle!  Do you think that when a king would be born that there would be animals?  No, never, there are supposed to be servants around, not animals.  That’s crazy.  Do you think when a king was born that shepherds would be the first ones to visit?  No, never, fancy people are supposed to come visit and shepherds are not fancy!  Do you think that anyone from anywhere could follow a king?  No, never, you would never follow a king if you didn’t physically live in his kingdom.  Do you think when a king dies, that he would be crucified?  That he would be nailed to a cross?  No, never.  A king would never die on a cross.

Are things the way they are supposed to be?

No, certainly not.  If there is anything about Jesus’ kingship, it is that it is NOT normal, not even in the slightest.  Jesus, in no way has demonstrated His kingship, He’s not born where He should be born, He isn’t visited by the people who should be visiting, He isn’t followed by who should be following Him, and He certainly does not die the way He should die.

This word, should, causes a lot of problems for us.  Should is the way it is supposed to be.  More words that cause problems for us, supposed to.  Should and supposed to are almost divine words in themselves, they have a lot of power, and they describe things that are supposed to be natural, infallible, perfect, impeccable, flawless, unerring.  For example, should and supposed to be describes many aspects of our world, we should drive on the right side of the road, we are supposed to raise kids to be wary of strangers.  We should buy name brand clothes.  We are supposed to tip waiters and waitresses.  Some of the shoulds and supposed tos aren’t bad things, but some of them are not helpful either, homeless people should find a job, they are supposed to be working.  

Should and supposed to be.

The criminal was supposed to be there.  He should be crucified.   He even owns up to his crimes, when he says we have been condemned justly, what is he saying?  He’s saying we deserve this , we should be punished and we are supposed to be condemned.

But Jesus doesn’t follow the shoulds and the supposed tos.  What a peculiar Gospel to be given, shouldn’t we be given a more regal Gospel, one filled with hope and rainbows and sunshine?  

Jesus, up there on that cross, isn’t where He is supposed to be if He is a king.  The people recognize it, “If He is the Messiah, He should save Himself.” “If you are a king, you should come down!”  The first criminal even pipes in, “If you are the Messiah, you should be saving yourself, and you are supposed to save us from these Romans!”  

And yet, does the King come down?  Where are the trumpets, the angels, the fancy clothes?  Where is the fancy armour, the fancy horse, the fancy throne?  They should have been there.  Armies of angels should have flown in, because the King of Kings, the Son of God, the Messiah, is not supposed to be on a cross.

So He doesn’t come down like He is supposed to.  What does He do?  He offers salvation to a criminal.  The second criminal even says, “we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds.”  We should be punished.  We are getting what we are supposed to.  

No one is supposed to be able to forgive sins, let alone tell a criminal they will be going to paradise.  No one should do that, that is blasphemy.  And criminals who are worthy of being crucified should not be going to heaven.

But Jesus doesn’t follow the shoulds and the supposed tos.  Even the worst sinners can be saved.  Even though they should be punished, and they are supposed to receive a just reward, the just reward that the criminal who repented received was…. Mercy, paradise, heaven.  The just reward that the criminal received was grace.

Which is ironic, you know.  What do we often see in movies where a king is being addressed by someone else, “Your grace.”  “Your grace.”  Perhaps the only king worthy of this line, “Your grace” is now hanging on a cross, demonstrated His grace.

Let us not be fooled, Jesus needed the cross.  Jesus was supposed to be there, His love and grace took Him there so that God’s love could be demonstrated to the world.  Jesus would not have triumphed over sin and death if He did not die on that cross.  If He did not give up His life so that we might live.

But kings aren’t supposed to sacrifice themselves for just any one or any cause.  They shouldn’t be giving up their lives for weak, feeble humans, they should definitely not be giving up their lives for sinners, or for criminals.

And yet, that is what Jesus did.  Jesus reminds us that our shoulds and our supposed tos are not His.  His shoulds and His supposed tos are much different, much, much different.  

So, when you find yourself thinking “That is the way it should be, or something is supposed to be that way”, remember that our shoulds and supposed tos are not God’s shoulds and supposed tos.  From Jeremiah, let us be the shepherds we are supposed to be, the people we should be, caring and tending for the flock.  He made peace through the blood of His cross, maybe not the way it should be for us, but the way it is supposed to be for Him.  

May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.  The way that He intended it to be, the way that it really should be.

Thanks be to God.


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