It is “Christ the king” this Sunday, or “The Reign of Christ,” so I offer you a children’s sermon on John 18:33-37. (You can find my regular Monday Meditation on this text here.)
Next week Advent begins—a whole new year for the church. Most of our Gospel texts will be from Luke. (If you’d like to make this Advent a time of spiritual focus, and jump start your time in Luke, think about joining my Advent course on classical lectio divina. We’ll be exploring this ancient Christian prayerful approach to Scripture on four great texts from Luke. Find out more through this link.)
But for now… a children’s sermon on John 18:33-37.
A Children’s Sermon on John 18:33-37
Good morning kids! I’m so glad you’re here today. Thanks for coming up to hear the children’s sermon.
Today is a special day in the church. It’s the last Sunday of the church’s year. Today is called “Christ the King,” or “The Reign of Christ.”
The End of the Church Year
Every year, the church celebrates the events of Jesus’ life.
We start as Winter is coming. In Advent we have four Sundays of getting ready for Jesus to be born on Christmas. Christmas is so important we keep celebrating it for two more Sundays.
Then, in the middle of Winter, for several Sundays we celebrate how Jesus’ life is good news for the whole world. That’s called “Epiphany.”
- Some churches celebrate Epiphany by remembering how the magi came from a far away county to bring gifts to Jesus.
- Other churches celebrate Epiphany by remembering how Jesus was baptized when he started going out to help people.
As Winter is turning to Spring we celebrate Lent. That’s the six Sundays when we get ready for Holy Week.
In Holy Week we remember the last week of Jesus’ life on earth.
- On Palm Sunday we remember Jesus riding joyfully into Jerusalem.
- On Maundy Thursday we remember Jesus giving his friends the Lord’s Supper.
- On Good Friday we remember Jesus gong to his death on the cross.
Then on Easter Sunday, we celebrate that Jesus rose from the grave and was alive again—that he rose to give us new life too.
Forty days later we celebrate the Ascension, when Jesus went up to heaven.
And soon after that we celebrate Pentecost, when Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to help the church grow, and be strong, and reach out with the good news of Jesus.
Then, all through the summer and fall we have what the church calls “Ordinary Time.” That’s the growing time when we listen to Jesus’ stories, and try to live the way he teaches us.
Christ the King
Well, today is the very last Sunday of Ordinary Time. It’s the very last Sunday of the whole church year. Next Sunday we start the new year with the season of Advent—getting ready for the birth of Jesus again.
But today we are looking back at all we’ve learned about Jesus in our year-long journey of celebrations.
What have we learned? Only you know what you learned. But I can tell you what the church has tried to teach us in our year-long journey.
Its’ right there in the name of this last Sunday of the church’s year: “Christ the King,” or “the Reign of Christ.”
What we’ve learned is that Jesus is our true king—our ruler.
Jesus told lots of stories about the Kingdom of heaven. Now we know that Jesus is the ruler of that Kingdom—and of our lives.
Maybe you are thinking “Hey, how can Jesus be the king? We don’t have kings in our country.” Or, “If Jesus is king, what’s he doing?”
Someone in today’s Gospel story had questions just like that.
Talking with the Governor
The Gospel story today is a conversation between Jesus and the governor, a man named Pontius Pilate. Pilate wanted to know if Jesus really thought he was a king, and what kind of king Jesus was. Here’s what happened.
“Are you really a king or what?” asked the governor.
“Why are you asking?” said Jesus. “Did somebody say you should ask me that?”
“Seriously!” Pilate said. “Are you really a king or what?”
“I’m not the kind of king you are used to,” Jesus said. “My Kingdom isn’t like kingdoms in this world.”
“But then what kind of king are you?” Pilate said. “What kind of kingdom do you have?”
“Here’s the secret,” said Jesus. “‘King’ and ‘Kingdom’ are earth words. I’m more a ‘heaven’ sort of king. My kingdom is all about knowing what’s really true. That’s why I’m here, actually: I came to speak the truth. And people who love the truth hear my voice and follow me. How about you?”
That’s where our reading ends. If we read just one more verse, we would hear Pontius Pilate’s answer.
When Jesus said that people who love the truth follow him, Pontius Pilate asked “What is truth?”
- I wonder which season of the church’s year you like best.
- I wonder what Pontius Pilate thought about Jesus being a king whose job was to just tell the truth?
- I wonder if you’ve ever heard Jesus telling you the truth?
- I wonder if you would like to live in Jesus’ kingdom?
You are, of course, free to use this children’s sermon, or adapt it as you find most useful. But, if you use it, please do one (or more!) of the following.
- You can let me know that you are using it, either in the comments below, or using the contact form above.
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