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To Be Or Not To Be King

At that, Jesus realized that they would come and carry Him off to make Him king, so He fled back to the mountain, alone
John 6:1-15

Sermon Topic Greatness

Sermon Week Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary John 6:15


Sean Connery and Michael Caine are the stars in an adventure film entitled "The Man Who Would Be King", based on a story by Rudyard Kipling. Each plays the part of an ex-sergeant-Danny Dravot and Peachey Camehan-from Her Majesty's Royal Army in India. Their love of adventure takes them on an arduous journey to the faraway mountain Kingdom of Kafiristan. There, Danny Dravot is able to fulfill his lifelong ambition. He has always wanted to be a king. All his life he longed for the power and prestige and pleasures that come with kingship. Consequently, through a combination of trickery and superior Western "know how," Danny Dravot becomes king and, for a short time, thoroughly enjoys it. But the same drive which led him to want to be king soon proves his undoing, and Danny loses not only his Kingdom, but also his life. The film is not likely to win any awards, but the title comes back to haunt us today, as we read in our Gospel Lesson about the Man who would not be king.

From the beginning of His public ministry, "the Man who would not be king" becomes a dominant theme in the life of Jesus. Remember the temptation story? Before He began to preach and teach, Jesus went into the desert to reflect on the mission He was about to undertake. He was living in a time of political turmoil. There was a need for a strong king. This is what the people were dreaming about and hoping for and praying for. And the temptation that came to Jesus was to be that king. First came the appeal to use economic power. "Command these stones to turn into bread," the Devil said. In other words, "Feed your hungry people and they will do whatever you say." This temptation was not made simply to meet Jesus' personal hunger. It had to do with the possibility of kingship. Secondly, the Devil appealed to the use of Jesus' charismatic power to impress the people. "Dazzle the people by jumping off the pinnacle of the Temple without hurting yourself." [...]

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