The scripture is from Ezekiel 34:11-16: “I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out, as shepherds seek out their flocks when they are, when they’re among their scattered sheep. So I will seek out my sheep, I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and we’ll bring them into their own land and I’ll feed them on the mountains of Israel by the watercourses and in all the inhabited parts of the land. I will feed them with good pasture and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture. There they shall lie down in good grazing land and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep and I’ll make them lie down, says the Lord God. I will seek the lost and I’ll bring back the strayed and I will bind up, the injured and I will strengthen the weak. But the fat and the strong, I will destroy I will feed them with justice.” This is the word of the Lord.
Today is Christ the king Sunday. From next week we enter into the advent. Advent is a celebration of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ into this world. So it’s like a celebration of Christmas season from next Sunday. But advent is the according to church calendar, the Christian calendar, advent is the beginning of the new year. So the first week begins from next week. And so today is the last week, according to Church calendar. And today is Christ the king Sunday. So you can see early Christians, they celebrate, they had this schedule for the whole year. They begin with waiting for the coming of the Lord, and they end with Christ proclaiming that Christ is the king. And that tells us about our lives too. We also begin our lives with waiting for the Lord, but we end at the end of it. Ultimately, we proclaim that Christ is the king of our lives. When we say that Christ is the king, that also means I am not the king. Christ is the king. I am not the king. That’s what we proclaim.
God is the King
We are not the king. We are not in control of our lives. It is Christ. It is God who is in control of our lives. That’s what we confess. And that’s what we boldly proclaim in our lives. And Saint Paul expressed the same thing in a little bit different way. This is what he said. It is no longer I, who live, but Christ who lives in me. This is how Paul saw his life. It is no longer him who lives in his life, but it is Christ who lived in Paul’s life. It is a wonderful statement. It is a mystical union between Christ and me. And that is a unique message of Christians. We Christians believe that we are connected and deeply connected with Christ, it’s almost like Christ is living in me and I live in Christ, that mystical union. I was possible through the spirit.
And I do believe that that is the wisdom of living a good life instead of trying to control my love with my own strength. We let God come into our lives every day and let God reign and rule our life. And that is a wisdom. And when we start doing that, we experience freedom and salvation. And that is the way for us to come alive. How we come alive, when that mystical union is possible, when Christ fills my life, and when I know that I’m in Christ’s hands that’s when we experience true aliveness. Life comes alive as we enter into God’s world. And therefore, when God flows into our life, what do you experience? You experience that you’re so small compared to the greatness of God’s world. When I enter into God’s word, all of a sudden we become very small, almost invisible when I enter into God’s world. But when I’m that small, actually that’s when I’m the biggest, that’s when I am the largest, when we enter into God’s world, that’s what we experience. The power we experience is not comparable to the power you can extract from your own strength and there in that world, in God’s world you experience freedom. This is what freedom looks like, the freedom, not doing whatever you want, but freedom of not having to do anything. The freedom that gives me just a wonderful peace that words cannot express beyond our understanding, that surpasses all understanding, that freedom that gives me that peace, the freedom that gives me confidence in life. This is not something we can ever experience. When you try to be in control of your own life, you can never experience that. It is a spiritual experience it’s a spiritual freedom. This is a treasure you get when you let yourself totally in God’s hands and this treasure is hidden to the people.
Only when you enter into God’s world, you experience this, you discover this treasure. When we surrender ourselves, we will experience freedom, peace and confidence, but when you grab on to yourselves, worries and anxieties and fear will consume you. So you will either live with peace, freedom and confidence, or will you live with worries, anxiety and fear. As you enter into God’s realm, something wonderful happens. In today’s scripture Ezekiel used the image of a shepherd to describe the relationship between God and God’s people and King David also saw the relationship in that way. In Psalm 23, he said, “the Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want,” and Jesus also saw himself as a shepherd. He said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” So you’re not alone. You are a sheep, but you have a good shepherd who leads your life. You’re not making your life on your own. Good shepherds makes your life, Good shepherds leads your life. We have the best king and our king is our shepherd and our shepherd leads our life. When we don’t know where to go, our shepherd will show us the way. Not only God will show us the way, but God will strengthen us and God will tell us what to do.
God Leads Me
As we look back on our lives. I can see God’s mysterious hands that have upheld me, led me, guided me all this time. Sometimes those hands were invisible, while I was going through that it was invisible. But when I look back, there were the mysterious, invisible hands of God that have led me. So yesterday we had a session retreat. And then one word that remains with me is mystery. How God has led this congregation in a mysterious way. And that’s what I came out with from the retreat, mystery. God has been good to you all this time and you have nothing to worry about because God who has been good to you all this time. Will be good to you for the rest of your life.
You have nothing to worry about because you have a good shepherd with you. As we let God be our shepherd who leads me. Wonderful things will happen in our lives, of all things what I can say is you will have confidence in life. Confidence that the world gifts, confidence from God. The confidence will give you the courage. Yes, worries and anxieties will be always with you, for as long as you breathe, while you live on this earth, worries and anxieties will never depart from you. They will always be with you, but when you let Christ rule in your life, these worries and anxieties will not turn into fear that paralyzes you. That’s what is amazing about letting Christ rule in your life, these worries and anxieties become just petty, worries and anxiety. We will always be worrying and anxious, but these worries and anxieties will not turn into fear that paralyzes you when you let Christ rule in your life. It is fear that kills you. That is what makes us so passive and defensive. Well, I saw one movie and it said, “fear makes me live.” Yeah, fear makes you maybe survive, but fear will not help you live. You will only survive through the fear, but fear will never make you live. As you let Christ be your shepherd, one thing great about that is fear will never thrive in you. When you let Christ rule in your life, fear will never thrive in you. Your heart will not brew fear. Your heart will not cultivate fear. That’s what happens when you let Christ rule in your life. Fear will not grow within you it can not survive. Fear cannot survive within you.
How To Face Challenges
You know, when you experience challenges in your life, what is the first thing that you see? When the challenges come to you? What is the first thing you see? The first thing you see is how small you are, how weak you are, how helpless and hopeless you are. That’s what challenges make you see. So when the challenges come, the first thing that you see is how small you are. And then as soon as you see that, fear starts thriving in you, and fear always makes you small, and controls you in that way. Fear first makes you very small, and then fear controls you. People who use fear, like bullies, that’s what they do. They know your vulnerable spots. They know how weak you are, and they make you focus on your weakness and they make you feel so small and in that way, they control you. There are some bad people around us in the world who use fear to control the people. They always threaten you, scare you, and make you small and try to control you. But as we let Christ be our shepherd, you know what happens? Yes. You see your own weaknesses first. But you see beyond. That’s what happens when you let Christ rule in your life. You see your weakness like everybody else, but somehow you see beyond and you see God’s strength beyond your weakness, so fear cannot use that weakness to control you anymore. Every time we see weakness, our eyes go beyond somehow and see God’s strength. Our eyes go to the one ahead of us, leading us.
St. Paul’s Insight
There’s a wonderful, spiritual insight St. Paul saw. He realized, after he met Christ, he still saw his weakness, but somehow he was able to see beyond his weakness. He was able to see God’s strength, and that is what St. Paul confessed to God, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness. So our boats are all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I’m content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I’m strong. Whenever I see my own weakness, I see beyond, I see strength.” That’s the kind of insight Paul got after meeting Christ, he never experienced that before, but after meeting Christ, after inviting Christ in his life, he not only sees his own weakness but he saw beyond, so he was not scared of his own weaknesses because he was able to see the strength beyond his own weaknesses. In that process, your presence becomes free from the oppression of worries and anxieties, and you can see much more clearly what to do. You can see much more clearly where you’re going. This is how our shepherd leads us, open our eyes to be able to see that.
Believe That Christ is Our King
We are living in a very precarious, uncertain period of our world. Every morning, I read newspaper and it’s scary. Sometimes I get scared. Where is this world going? Bullies rule the world. Continuously, fear traps people. We’re living in a very, very uncertain period of our world. More than ever before, we need to understand very clearly that Christ is the king, not anyone, not me. Nothing is our king. Only Christ is our king. The fear will not consume you. Don’t let powerful people control you with fear. Stand strong. Stand tall.
Christ is our king. When you let Christ rule in you as your king, you will be able to break through the walls that imprison you. You’ll be able to walk through the fog that hinders your way. That’s what King David confessed. “The Lord is my shepherd,” and later he said, “even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil, for you are with me, and your rod and your staff, they comfort me. The Lord is my shepherd and the Lord will lead my life.” Last week, I was sitting in my room. I felt so helpless seeing the world, but that’s a message God gave me. ” Don’t worry. I am the king. I am the shepherd. I’ll lead this world. I’ll lead you. There’s nothing for you to worry about.” My Christian fellows, let us stand tall and stand strong. Just follow the truth that Jesus taught us, and Christ will rule. That is the power that I believe in. Jesus, he did not achieve salvation with his power, he actually let go of all his power. Whenever he used divine power, he said, “Be quiet, don’t tell anyone,” and he helplessly died on the cross having all his power shift off from him. He had no power whatsoever on the cross and he died, but he released the power of God’s resurrection through his obedience to the truth. He let God’s power be released. He let the resurrection, be released. We’re living in a world where contradiction rules. Using the power of this world, you’re just intensifying the contradiction. This is a time that we turn to God’s power and God’s strength, and that power, will lead us to the green pasture. Let us sing together.