Who is Jesus? A Children's sermon (Columba Salamony)
Family Sunday means the children—old and young alike—can come sit with me up here for the sermon today!
Who do you think Jesus is?
Today’s stories from the Bible talk about Jesus as a king. Pontius Pilate asks Jesus, “Are you a king?” and Jesus responds, “You say that I am a king.”
I wonder what other kings can you name?
I think one of my favorite stories about a king is The Lion King. Who’s the king in that movie? Simba! So, Simba is born to be king, right? And what happens next? Scar takes it away from him! And Simba goes to live in the jungle… But Nala comes and asks him to return home. And so, he does, right? But then he has to fight Scar to become king. And who wins?
Why do you think Simba wins? Maybe Simba is the strongest lion and is meant to be the king? Simba was born to be the king. Just like Jesus was, right?
So, I wonder what kind of king is Jesus? Is he a good king like Simba or a bad king like Scar?
What makes Jesus a good king?
A good king is supposed to be someone who is loving, and kind, and honest… A king is responsible for people, right? He’s supposed to take care of them, feed them, keep them safe. Kind of like our parents! But even more so, because the king takes care of everyone!
I wonder what you think Jesus is king of?
Jesus is the king of heaven and earth! But Jesus as a king looks so different from any other king we can imagine.
When Pontius Pilate asks Jesus, “Are you a king?” he probably felt threatened by Jesus. Because he thought of himself as a kind of king, too. He was put in charge of the land where Jesus lived by the ruler of the Roman Empire, Tiberius, who was kind of like a king but on a bigger scale. He ruled over many, many people and a lot of land… But he wasn’t always nice to the people he ruled. So when Pilate asks Jesus if he’s a king, he’s asking if he’s going to be a troublemaker. If Jesus is the king, then that means that Tiberius can’t be the king, right? There’s normally only one king!
But that isn’t really what it means for Jesus to be a king. Sometimes throughout history there have been bad kings. Kings who just want more and more money. Kings who want more land, more gold and silver, more food for themselves—not for their people! Kings who wear big fancy costumes and wear crowns made of gold and diamonds and other gems. I wonder if that’s how we think of Jesus? Does he hoard all of his money and food? Or does he share it with his friends? Jesus doesn’t wear fancy clothes either, does he?
So, Jesus isn’t the sort of king that history teaches us about, huh? He doesn’t lead people into battle or wars. He doesn’t claim that one race, or religion, or ethnicity is more important than another. He doesn’t enslave people and make them work until they die. He doesn’t try to control people and prevent people from seeing God, does he?
No, Jesus doesn’t do any of these things. Because Jesus is a different kind of king. Jesus is a king that we wouldn’t recognize as a king. We wouldn’t recognize his kingdom either! As a king, Jesus rules so that every person can be fed. He needs us to build longer tables instead of higher walls—to invite people into our community so they can be taken care of, so they can be nourished, so they can be loved. Jesus wants us to serve people instead of being served. He wants us to be generous so that someone who has nothing might have something! Jesus wants us to be truthful with one another, so that no one’s feelings get hurt. Jesus always, always, always asks us to be loving to our neighbor. He never wants us to do anything that will hurt someone else.
I wonder if you think that’s what it means for Jesus to be king? Do you agree?
What do we say in church when we all agree? AMEN!