Preken for Kristi Kongefest 2016

Luke 23, 35-43

Jesus kingdom is connected to the cross, we must never forget that. It’ the deepest message of our gospel today. On the cross Jesus who is mocked by everybody, the religious leaders, the soldiers, Jesus who is powerless, is really king. In this way the inscription above him on the cross is totally right : « This is the king of the Jews ». Jesus appears in this paradoxal situation as a king who has the ultimate judgment with power to open the door of paradise to a thief. He fullfilled his mission which Luke especially testifies about : he announced the salvation for all the rejected, all the despised to whom first the entrance in the Kingdom of God is promised, because the last becomes the first. Jesus as king is the good shepherd in opposition with all the bad shephers, he takes care of the lost, injured, weak sheep.

But on the cross happens someting new : Jesus takes on himself the destiny of all the rejected, all the despised. No one found better words to express that than Isaiah: « He had no form or charm to attract us, no beauty to win our hearts ; he was despised,  the lowest of men, a man of sorrows, familiar with suffering, one from whom, as it were, we averted our gaze, whom we had no regard (53, 2-3). By his assimilation with the poorest and rejected, he became their king.

How the good thief understood that ? How he recognized in this man with no form, lowest of men, a man of sorrows like him, the just and innocent, the servant of God? It’s the miracle of faith, so he could say : « Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom ». It’s the miracle of faith which is a gift of God who opens eyes and can transform a criminal to a justman. It’s the justification by the faith eventhough at the last minute. There all christians agreed, lutherans and catholics as well. If Jesus disciples testifies about that to the world, then our church will bear good fruit. The mission in church includes, economy, money, projects, it’s necessary. But these means must contribute to an ultimate goal that is to serve a crucified king with no power on earth.

Olav in his death like the good thief gave the supreme witness of his faith to the « white Christ » eventhough his life was not always very catholic. And in this way he became king of Norway for ever. As the good thief we are redeemed if like him we confess, looking at the crucified: «Jesus remember me when you came into your kingdom». All of us indeed, not only thieves, need God’s mercy, wich is manifested in Jesus the crucified king. This mercy that we have celebrate with gratitude during this last year, we desire to continue to be its instuments, because we has experienced it first ourseves.

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