Jesus is the King of the castle

 

Jesus is the king of the castle Ephesians 4 25-5:2 sand castle

I have a bucket and spade here.  What do we use these for?  (beach, sand, children playing and making things in the sand pit)  What is one of the first things we build out of sand with a bucket and spade?  Yes, a sand castle.  Right from our early childhood we instinctively know how to make a castle for ourselves.  Then, once we have finished the sandcastle, do you know or remember the chant that goes with it?  ‘I’m the king of the castle and you’re the dirty rascal.’ We build a castle and then claim our right as king.  It comes so naturally to us and it comes to us at such a young age.   

Can you remember how we reacted when our kinship is challenged?  Grrrr…Why you liddle…I ought a….Raaa we become angry and aggressive.  No one wants to be dethroned.  You and I, right from a young age, even in our play acting, build castles, rule over them, and then become angry when our rule is challenged.  Have you ever had an angry outburst, then, after you cooled down, thought ‘where did that come from?’ Or maybe you don’t explode outwardly when angry.  Perhaps you internalise your anger – and like a pressure cooker it keeps stewing away, building up pressure and pulling you apart on the inside.  Anger always has a root and often it is deeply seeded in our castle building and ruling over our castle. 

As we grow, this sequence of events, which lead us to be angry people, building a castle and claiming kingship, never seems to change only the stakes are higher; from sandcastles to brick houses, from ruling over kids in the play ground, to ruling over our families or siblings, from the sandpits to the suburbs, in every town and in every house, there are castles and little kings ruling them; demanding authority and the right of their rule be upheld and then getting angry when things don’t go to plan.  

An example of this can be found in 1st Samuel where King Saul harbours anger against David, because he feels he is a threat to his rule over his castle, the people of Israel ‘Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. “They have credited David with killing tens of thousands,”, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdomAnd from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.’  We can almost imagine Saul saying ‘I the king of the castle, you, David, are the dirty rascal.’  The same case scenario happened between Cain and Abel.  Cain’s castle was pride in his offering to God and when God disapproved of his offering and accepted Abel’s, Cain wanted to be king over Abel and so in anger killed his brother.    

The consequence of this way of living for us today is, in every house, in every family, even in your family, there are individuals, you and me, our children, all trying to be king and harbouring anger when we don’t get recognition.  There are angry power struggles as each of us tries to assert our rule over the castle.  ‘I am the father and you WILL obey me!  I’m mum and what I say goes.’ ‘I’m the oldest or youngest in this family, so I should be the one who has the say.’ Have there been fighting words in your family this week?  Have you got into an argument with your wife or husband, or with one of the children, or sulked and gave people the ‘silent treatment’??  Have the kids had an angry argument over something?   

Unjust angry outburst or sulking is often our way of displaying the hidden power struggle over the kingship of our castle; Anger, that real deep inner desire to explode, is always over two things: either its our attempt to dethrone someone who we feel is a threat or its our response when we are dethroned. St Paul is fully aware of our desire to build castles and rule over them in anger and warns us saying ‘In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a footholdGet rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 

As an emotion, anger is not necessarily bad, as Paul says ‘in your anger…do not sin’, not ‘don’t be angry.’ It all depends on what you’re angry about! And what you DO with it! Anger is a healthy emotion that alerts us that something is wrong.  Ideally, it moves us to address the cause of those wrongs.  The trick is to go about it in a healthy way!   

Anger is an ideal emotion God gives to us to diagnose and alert us to a personal castle we may have built. It shows us that, our anger may mean we have set ourselves up as king over those around us.  Our anger can show us that we may be trying to protect and justify our rule.  Anger, if kept in control and understood correctly, will point out our hidden issues, the little idols we hold to and will help us to destroy our personal castles and dethrone our ego’s. “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold’ is Paul’s encouragement to us.  

Don’t just be angry, diagnose it!  Harboring anger only gives the devil a foot hold.  It allows him to blow it all out of proportion, by rerunning the incident in our head at night; over and over and over again, convincing us of our right to be angry and to be king over another person.  Instead, ask God to reveal what the root cause of our anger is; ask this of yourself ‘All I really want out of this is…’  If it is anything other than wanting glory for God and love for the other person, you have a castle and you want to be king. 

The good news for us as Christians, is that in our anger we don’t have to strive to be king, we already have a king.  A king, who, in every action and word, gives glory to God the Father in heaven and loves us dearly.  Psalm 2tells us that Jesus is our king.  God, our Father in heaven said “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.”  And also in Revelation it says ‘He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.  On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.’  

In Jerusalem God has set a king to rule over us forever, but not a king who rules with anger and with violence.  No.  On the cross, in Zion, in a robe dripping with blood, that is, his body, Jesus paid for our sin and defeated the powers of death and the devil.  In doing so gained the right to be king, as Jesus himself said ‘All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me ’. He rules from the cross.  His body and blood won the victory and the winnings of battle are ours…grace and forgiveness. 

  Jesus is king, not us, which frees to stop fighting for what we need, frees us from having to make castles and trying to be king ourselves by being angry in order to get what we need.  From the cross and risen from the grave, Jesus says to you today, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.’  Isn’t that what we are angry about?  Not getting what we need?  Jesus, as king, here promises to provide everything we hunger for, and fulfill everything with thirst for.   

When Jesus rules as king in our life, his gift to us, is grace, peace and forgiveness and this now becomes our castle.  And Love and servant hood towards each other becomes the weapons we use in arguments rather than anger and power struggles.  This is what Paul means saying ‘Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 

Jesus is the king of the castle, not us.  And that castle is our heart, where he rules in love and forgiveness.  As part of the ‘Jesus all about life campaign’ you will see in the bulletin that we are running a parenting course over six weeks.  It has been developed by Pastor David Ludwig of the Lutheran church in America.  Called, ‘parenting families…from me to we’, it challenges us to allow Jesus to rule in our hearts to become forgiving families, rather than angry families.
Amen.
 

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