Luke 23:35-43
King of the Universe
by Rev. Luke Dundon

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Luke wrote to explain that
Christ came to save everyone.

The rulers sneered at Jesus and said, "He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God."  Even the soldiers jeered at him.  As they approached to offer him wine they called out, "If you are King of the Jews, save yourself."  Above him there was an inscription that read, "This is the King of the Jews."

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Christ?  Save yourself and us."  The other, however rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation?  And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal."  Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."  He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

Greetings to you on this glorious and solemn celebration of our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe!  I love looking through the lens of a telescope to see the countless stars and galaxies that inhabit all of creation.  Pondering over the immensity of what is out there, I have to marvel at the power of our God.  A God who has done all this, and then stoops down to become a lowly baby in a manger.  The Lord of the Universe, who knows every star and every particle of dust in this grand cosmos, has decided to come to the third planet orbiting a relatively unremarkable star situated in the Milky Way Galaxy.  He came in the most humble of means, He lived amongst the most humble of people, and He did the most humble of things.  And in doing these simple and unnoticeable things, He was saving the universe from sin, death and destruction.

It's really mind-boggling to think about.  There are about 100 million stars in each galaxy of our universe.  100 million suns of all sorts of shapes and sizes, each with their own planets and moons!  And that's just in one galaxy.  From studies done by the Hubble Space Telescope, we have thus far measured 25 million galaxies.  25 million massive objects that have 100 million stars apiece.  Multiply the numbers, and you get 25,000,000,000,000 stars!!!  That's 25 TRILLION stars in our universe.  And so many of those stars have their own planets and moons. . . I look up into the sky, thinking about us being so small in size compared to the immensity of the universe, and I can't help but wonder, "God . . . in the midst of all this, you remembered US!"

For how true it is, in the midst of our fast-paced and busy world, we might be tempted to think that we individually don't matter very much.  God must be too busy with other things, how could He be concerned about our own affairs?  In response to this, I love the beauty of Psalm 147, which proclaims that God "determines the number of the stars, and calls each of them by name."  EACH of them by name!  And that's 25 trillion stars.  Almost 4000 times the number of people on earth.  If God knows the name of each star, how much more does He care about each son and daughter of His on the earth?

That's the kind of King who reigns over this universe of ours.  A king who cares about every moment of our lives, right up till the last moments of our death.  And so the good thief on Calvary has the courage to ask our crucified Lord, "Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom."  Does Jesus remember Him?  In the midst of all the different peoples and situations and events going on in our world, does the King of the Universe remember him?  Does He really care about him?  Jesus' response more than answers the question - "today, you will be with me in paradise."  Brothers and sisters, I think you'll agree with me - THAT'S the kind of King I want to have!  Thank you, King of Kings, for remembering each of us, for keeping each of us in your Sacred Heart, and for ruling over us in your most magnificent love, now and forever.  Long Live Jesus Christ, the King!

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