Jesus: Not The King That You Want But The King That You Need

Text: John 6:1-15

In the name of Jesus. Amen.


Our society tends to glamorize personal freedom and independence, to the point that many people in our culture pride themselves in being free from politicians, pastors, parents, and kings. We love the idea of functioning like independent islands – disconnected from everyone and reliant on no one. We will even boast about our freedom, 


“I can do whatever I want, whenever I want! I am free! I am independent!”  


But here is the catch, while we boast of being independent, autonomous, and self-reliant, we will gladly and even forcefully make ourselves loyal subjects to kings who will do what we want them to do for us. 


Do not let this detail pass you by. Take note, we say that we are independent, free, and autonomous – Masters and Commanders of our own universe - yet at the same time, we are quick to become loyal subjects to any king that will give us what we want. 


Now, when I use the term ‘king,’ I am referring to a leader, commander, or someone who is above you and me. A king could be a politician, teacher, parent, mayor, governor, or someone else over you and me in authority.  And so, we like the idea of being independent, but we also like the idea of having kings that take care of us and do what we want. 


Unfortunately, though, there are many so-called kings that do exactly what the masses want. For example, everyone knows that there are politicians who do not have an ounce of integrity but only vote in ways to make their voters happy. Everyone can easily spot the churches in town where the only goal of the pastor is to tickle the ears of parishioners, to increase Sunday attendance while making parishioners feel spiritually warm and fuzzy. Everyone knows those parents who let their kids do whatever they want because the parents are too afraid of their kids not liking them. You get the picture.  

Now, if these kings are not bad enough, we loyal subjects are just as bad, for we often set our kings up to fail. We whine, complain, and beg our kings to serve the god of our bellies – our appetites; we expect that it is their job to make us happy and grant us pleasure.  


“Gimmie, gimmie, gimmie, I want, I want, I need, I need!” 


And so, when kings lose their backbone and integrity fall out of their character, they allow themselves to be imprisoned to the foolish desires, dreams, and aspirations of their subjects. And when we, followers, do not demand our kings to have a backbone but only want them to fill our bellies with pleasure, well… not much good comes from any of this.


Now, if you listened carefully to the Gospel reading, it should be evident that what has been described thus far is the exact predicament described in John chapter six.  


In our reading from the Gospel of John, Jesus had been healing the sick and multiplying food to fill hungry bellies. However, the crowd saw Jesus’ miracles as something to satisfy their hungry bellies and fulfill their entertainment desires. And so, the crowd wanted to make Jesus their king by force. But here is the catch, they did not want Jesus to be a King according to God the Father. They did not want King Jesus for who He actually is, but they wanted to have Jesus as their king according to their own desires. And if Jesus did not agree to their demands and expectations, well… they already had a plan. They would seize Him with force and carry Him off for their own purposes.


It is true that we really despise the idea of having anyone in authority over top of us because deep down, we would rather have our bellies be god and not anybody else. We want what we want, and we want it right now. But, if we can get a politician, teacher, or a parent to bow down and get us what we want, then we are most glad to have them as our king. If one of these kings worships the god of our bellies, we will then show them a bit of respect and a little love. But if they do not bow down to our sinful appetites, we may have to manipulate or force them to do so.


Dear friends, we love politicians who give us what we want. We love pastors who tell us what we want to hear. We love parents who let us do what we want.  


Those, who are like Kings, are always appreciated, loved, and approved by us when they act in ways that best serve us.  


However, when these Kings do not do what we want, say what we want, or act the way we want, well… we then no longer appreciate them, love them, or approve of them. We are forced to take things into our own hands and make them be the kings that we want them to be.  


Now, keep in mind that we can be moderately successful with this kind of thinking because a lot of earthly kings have no backbone or integrity. Furthermore, let’s just face it, we as a society know how to grumble, complain and even threaten leaders to get our own way. But this does not work with Jesus – it does not work with Christianity.  


Mark this, parishioners that take their pastor by force to make him tickle their ears is not a Christian church but a spiritually bankrupt religious can. Sermons that tickle ears are not words of life and truth but filthy narcissistic nonsense that poisons souls unto damnation.  


And a church that tries to seize Jesus by force to make Him into a King that answers to the congregation’s bidding? This is not a church but a circus mob. Christ is not some sort of genie in a bottle that answers to the appetites of the mankind’s gut. He is not like a vending machine that dispenses spiritual cotton candy by us pushing His buttons. He does not have to jump when we say jump. When Simon says to sit, Jesus does not have to listen to Simon. Frankly stated, unlike some politicians, pastors, and parents, Jesus is not manipulated by our whining, complaining, and begging. 


He is not naively brought into the trap of us making Him our own tiny king by force. Furthermore, unlike some politicians, pastors, and parents, Christ will never become the sinful king that we want Him to be because He does not kneel to worship the god of our gut and the appetites of our bellies.  


Dear friends, repent of the times that you only want Jesus to be your king, according to your set of rules, expectations, and sinful desires.


Repent of the hypocrisy of saying that you are independent and then grabbing a king to suit your own fancy. 


And for those of you leaders here today, repent of the times that you do not fulfill your vocation with a backbone of integrity – doing what is meet, right, and salutary - but instead give in to the foolish demands of the mob and masses. Remember that nine times out of ten, the demands of the mob and masses are not rooted in truth, justice, and mercy but rooted in their god of the gut.  


Yes, repent, and hear the good news! Jesus will not and cannot succumb to your tactics to seize Him. Jesus is not for sale to the highest bidder or loudest whiner. Christ will not bow to the sinful appetites of mankind. He is not going to be strong-armed, bullied, or pressured. He does not care about what you sinfully want but is more concerned with what you and I need as sinners. 


Think of it this way for a moment. That great crowd wanted to seize Jesus to make Him a king according to their desires. But their desires of making him a King were so limited. What they wanted was to take him to Jerusalem to be a messianic king over the Roman Empire. But a mere messianic king over a tiny world Empire accomplishes nothing over mankind’s biggest problems of sin, death, and the devil. This is the reason why Jesus withdrew from their scheming and planned to seize Him as their King. Their plans were too shortsighted. Their plans were too narrow-minded. Christ had more to give than mere physical healings and simple bread.  


What this means is that you have a Savior that is greater than what you want. Think about that for a moment. Let that sink in. You have a Savior that is greater than your limited desires.


You want entertainment but are given so much more – a bloody cross of forgiveness.  


You want your belly satisfied but are given so much more – an empty tomb of resurrected life.  


Baptized Saints, Jesus is not the king that you and I want but the King that you and I need... and have.  


In the name of Jesus. Amen.

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