Mid Lent Sunday 1854.
"The children of Israel said to Samuel, make us a king, who will rule over us."
This request shows their faith, that they think they will get along better under the rule of a king, than with a judge. The prophet Samuel who had been a Judge in Israel for a long time had become old and his sons were not acceptable judges since they accepted gifts and perverted judgements. For that reason they began to demand a king who would judge them. God was no longer suitable to them for a king, for men cannot be satisfied with God's rule, when they do wrong, and do not understand that they commit iniquity. The children of Israel began to quarrel with God already in Moses' time when He had put that punishment upon them that they had to travel back and forth in the wilderness because of their impatience. Then they began to murmur against God and to say, "Why does the Lord lead us to that land where we will be killed?" And also afterward one prophet imitated their saying, when he said, "The Lord does not do rightly with us," from that can be understood, that man is not satisfied that God judges him but the greater portion of the sorrowless people want a natural king for a judge, who they can see before their eyes. From that it can be surmised that God is not suitable for a Judge for the sorrowless people. But the God of the world would be better suited to them for a king and a judge, since ho first urges them to commit evil and then allows them to live according to their own evil will; such a king who complies with the wishes of the people as Pilate, he is the best king to the sorrowless. For that reason the prophet Samuel became sad when the sorrowless people wanted a king, he surmised, that the people in that place made a scourge for their own backs, that they would become slaves, that they would become burdened with heavy taxes, that they would be taken for soldiers and killed in battle. But that trouble did not amount to anything along side of that honor that even they now have a king as in other countries But God said to prophet Samuel, "They have not rejected you but they have rejected me." God was no longer suitable to them for a king. So it would happen even now if God was upon the earth, and began to keep the Judgement, then all the sorrowless would say, "God does not deal rightly with us, he is too harsh and severe in judging." But if the prince of the world came as a king, who complies with the, wishes of the people as Pilate then all the sorrowless would say, "This is a good king, he is not severe to punish and judge," He is a good king who does as the sorrowless people demand. It can be seen only of the natural government, what kind of a faith the people have, if the officer of the Crown is not quick to fine the drunkards and liquor merchants then all the drunkards and liquor merchants say, "he is not quick to fine the people!" But if the officer of the Crown takes such ones to court who have transgressed the law, then all the drunkards and whiskey merchants say "this is a false and mean judge who takes away what a person has,"
And do you think that God would be a suitable judge to the world? Not at all. If such a king comes who only looks after what is legal, then all say, "He is a false judge!" But if the prince of the world comes who allows the sorrowless people to live after their own evil will then all say, "This is a good judge, he is not quick to impose a fine." We hear from today's gospel that the people wanted to make Jesus their king, when they saw Him feed five thousand people without cost. But for what reason did they want Jesus for their king? Without a doubt with that intention that he would feed them without cost. That would be nice for the sorrowless people if someone would feed them without cost. For the sorrowless people are not satisfied with that, that God has created means of livelihood, as harvest, animals, fish, birds, and other means of livelihood by which and through trouble a person can make a living, but if God would throw a roasted chickadee in their mouth and would feed them without trouble, just then would God be a good God. And such a man would be certainly suitable to the sorrowless people for a king who would comply with the wishes of the people as Pilate and would feed them without cost.
We must through God's grace observe more broadly what kind of a man would be suitable for the children of the world as a king and what kind would be suitable for the Christians as a king. But that great King who has today fed five thousand people with five loaves and two fishes, feed now those five thousand souls, who have come without food, who are as needy ones who hunger and thirst after righteousness, who will die of hunger if Jesus does not come to feed them. Although some have come from far only because of curiosity, some to hear the Word of God, some to see miracles, none the less all are fed without cost, that they would better believe that Jesus is that Son of God and the Saviour of tho world. The disciples are put to distribute the food substance, that all would be fed, otherwise some would be left without food. Hear Heavenly King, the sighs of those who grow faint for the lack of food, who die of hunger without bread, who have no substance for nourishing their souls. Our Father etc.
The Gospel John 6: 1-15
The sorrowless people wanted to make Jesus their king, but Jesus did not want to be their king. We must therefore through God's grace consider first, Why do the sorrowless people want Jesus for their king? and second, Why does Jesus not want to be their king?
It is strange that the sorrowless people press to hear Jesus although this people who had come out of curiosity do not understand hardly anything of His sermons, since Jesus preaches only through parables, His word goes like a hum over their heads. They do not understand anything from it. The disciples of Jesus ask when understanding is lacking, they want to know what the parables mean, but the sorrowless people do not ask about it, what the parables contain inwardly, but they peer and wonder, become confused and think, what could it be? As the sorrowless people stood around Jesus like mosquitoes, so the sorrowless people also believe, that they are the best friends of Jesus, they are so stupid that they do not know enough to be afraid of the Son of God. They nudge Him with their elbows and imagine that He will take them to everlasting dwelling places. It is then no wonder, that the sorrowless want Jesus for their king, since they imagine that He will feed them without cost and that they are friends of Jesus! Not taking into consideration that they drink, curse, fight, whore, and steal and finally cry out, "Crucify." It does not enter into their mind at all, how they live, only that they can live according to their own evil will and to eat food without trouble. So, such a man would be a nice king for the sorrowless, not only on account of that, that he would feed them without cost but also for that reason that they could live after their own mind, the sorrowless imagine that Jesus is so merciful that He will allow them to live as they themselves want to. They imagine that Jesus would be so merciful if He came to be the king, that He would not fine anyone nor condemn anyone. And if someone came to Him and said to separate me from my brother in strife, then He would say, "Man, who put me to be a Judge between you?" If the pharisees would bring some whore before Him to tease Him, then He says, "I will not judge you." Prom that now the sorrowless conclude that Jesus condemns no one. But the sorrowless people do not understand, that Jesus cannot, as a natural judge, begin to listen to the trifling matters of the sorrowless, when some quarrel with their whores, and some quarrel over horses, and some quarrel over the manure pile. But the prince of the world, who in the beginning urges the people to go to court, and then says as Absalom, the murderer of his father, "If I could get to be the judge in this country, I would certainly give anyone who comes with a matter his own way," no matter who would come with a grievance, the man would be sure to say, "Your grievance is very right but there is no one to bring up your case before the king." Such a judge would be a very nice judge for the sorrowless people, who wins the honor of the world with the blood of their parent, and say to all who have matters, "Your grievance is very right." Moses was a noble judge, but he did not have strength enough to sit the whole day and judge one sorrowless people, who quarreled about trifles. But he had to set others as judges according to the counsel of his father in law. But the sorrowless wanted only Jesus for a king and judge for they imagined that He would not judge anyone in this world naturally, as the judges of the world judge, but a spiritual judge He is, who judges all things spiritually; He also judges him who quarrels with his brother over the manure pile, but He judges so, that no one is satisfied with that judgement, for such a judge who judges both of the persons only for the reason that they quarrel over trifles, such a one is not suitable for a judge for the slaves of the world. But the devil, Oh! he is a nice judge for the sorrowless people. He says to all agents, no matter who they are, "Your case is very right take it to court." For the prince of the world gains much when the sorrowless people quarrel and go to court, he wins many souls through this quarrel, and all the false judges gain much, when the sorrowless people quarrel amongst themselves, all the wrong attorneys gain much from the foolishness of the people, and nevertheless the sorrowless imagine that Jesus is so merciful that He Judges no one. But now if two brothers came to Jesus and said, judge between us, then He would say, "Man, who made me a judge between you?" But are the sorrowless satisfied with that, that Jesus does not judge at all in natural matters? Or are the sorrowless satisfied with that, that Jesus judges both of the persons only for the reason that they quarrel over trifles. No, I think that the sorrowless is not satisfied with that, that the judge does not judge at all, or that He judges both of the persons because of the quarrel, which is very trifling and brings both of the souls to hell.
Second consideration. Let us observe now why Jesus does not want to be a king to the sorrowless people? We surmise well that the sorrowless crowd has not yet changed its nature, although these sorrowless people follow Jesus outwardly, and come to Jesus for curiosity's sake and imagine they are Jesus' best friends, nevertheless it is their intention, that they through Jesus would gain worldly possessions and honor, and a fortunate rule in the kingdom of the Messiah, since Jesus is so merciful, that He judges no one. Come now all whores and thieves, come all drunkards, and whiskey merchants, come all cursers and fighters, come all who faithfully serve the devil and the world, with thoughts, words and deeds, come now all slaves of the devil to make Jesus your king; He feeds you without cost and lets them drink and fight, whore and steal, for He is so merciful, He judges no one. Will Jesus take the anointing and the crown of the head from the slaves of the devil and cry out to the world, "I am the king of the world?" I think that Jesus will give that honor to the devil and will go away to the woods, separate Himself from the company of such a group, and if the crowd of the world comes again the next day to get Him, He must say; "you do not follow Me because of the word which I have preached unto you but for that reason you seek me because yesterday you were filled." What would the sorrowless people think of that, that Jesus flees from their company, and does not want to be their king? Does it not have to be one sign of that, that the prince of the world is a nice king for them, and if they are in need of a king, then go you sorrowless people to get and make the prince of the world, the devil, your king, surely he will take the crown on his head and give a cry, "I am the king of the world, I am that great price, whom the whole world serves." But Jesus does not want to become a king to the sorrowless people. For what reason? Yes, because after a short time they will crucify Him. If they still on Palm Sunday cry, "Hosanna to the Son of David," then on Good Friday they cry, "Take Him away. Crucify Him!" Such is the crowd of the world, if they can live in drunkenness and pleasure, then they would take Jesus for a king. But if He rebukes them of their ungodly life and barks at them as an adulterous generation, then they become angry. When the sorrowless people cry out, "Crucify", then Pilate asks, "Must I crucify your king?" For that reason Jesus does not want to be their king, that they no doubt have one king and lord of the world, who rules them, namely the prince of the world who is the father of the world and chief lord. We heard him say to Jesus,"I will give you all the world if you will serve me." Wo doubt he is therefore the lord of the world, no doubt he rules the whole world when he is called the leader. Although the sorrowless want to make Jesus a king, they are of that faith, that Jesus is their king. But it is not so, but the prince of the world is their king, and he rules the world. But nevertheless Jesus is a king, as He, himself has testified. When Pilate asked Him, "Art thou a king then?" Jesus answered, "I am a king, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth, Everyone that is of the truth, heareth my voice." Here now all the sorrowless hear that Jesus is a king, but He is not a king to the sorrowless, for when the sorrowless people want to make Jesus a king, then He goes away in solitude into the woods, and does not want to become a king to such pagans, who moreover will not obey Him. But let the prince of the world be their king, as he has been thus far. Nevertheless Jesus is a King, Guess now, you sorrowless, whose King He is. The sorrowless do not believe that Jesus is the King of the Christians, for the prophets say that Christ will rule the pagans with a rod of iron; these pagans could not be the Christians, since Christ is so severe that He rules then with a rod of iron. But these pagans, whom Christ rules with a rod of iron probably will become Christians in that way that Christ rules them with a rod of iron. And this rod of iron is the torment of the conscience, which comes upon those pagans who allow themselves to be chastised. This rod of iron is one terrible word and it reveals, that Christ is not as merciful as the pagans imagine. But the pagans imagine, that the devil torments them who come into torment of conscience, they do not believe that Christ rules the pagans in such a way, with a rod of iron. But we have now seen, that the rod of iron with which Christ rules the pagans, is one merciful chastisement and Father's scourge, with which the Heavenly Parent chastises those, who will receive the chastisement. The Heavenly Parent raises some up to be people with His merciful chastisement, and some become so humble through this fatherly chastisement, that they kiss the Father's scourge, to those the Parent takes into His lap and gives them a kiss, and gives them to suck of the grace flowing breasts, and wipes away their tears and feeds them with milk. In this way Christ becomes the king of the Christians and He finally rules them with the iron rod of love. But the sorrowless do not understand that Christ is such a king who rules the pagans with a rod of iron, but they imagine, that Christ is so merciful, that He allows the pagans to live according to their own evil will. Whores and thieves imagine that Christ is so good and so merciful that He chastises no one with a rod of iron, drunkards and wine merchants imagine that Christ will feed them without trouble, all rag devils imagin, that they will become rich in Christ's kingdom. For that reason they want to make Him a king. But finally they cry, "Crucify!" Now all the sorrowless Jews can see that Jesus does not want to become a king to the sorrowless people. And how could He be suitable to the sorrowless people for a king, moreover they do not live according to the law of Christ. But the prince of the world can be the king to the sorrowless Jews as they have been already before in the kingdom of the prince of the world, who is so merciful, he condemns no one, no matter how ungodly they would live. Do not think that the leader of the world is quick to condemn those who serve him; whores and thieves are the best friends of such a lord, drunkards and whiskey merchants can live freely in the kingdom of the prince of the world, cursers and fighters are the best friends of the prince of the world. He is also the best king for the sorrowless people. But Christ does not want to become a kins to such a sorrowless people for after a short time they will anyway cry out, "Crucify!" Christ has become the king to the Christians in that way, that He has with His own blood won, purchased and redeemed them from under the power of sin, death and the devil, He has redeemed those prisoners which the prince of the world had taken captive. He has won their souls with His own precious blood. And now preciously redeemed souls, namely you few souls, who are chastised with the rod of iron in Christ's kingdom, and through true penitance are prepared to receive Christ's grace and love, the Heavenly King is anointed a King for you. He has fed five thousand men with five loaves and two fishes. With very little you have been fed, or there has been very little substance, from which such a large multitude has been filled, that small portion to begin with has through Jesus' blessing grown in the hands of the disciples so that all, who have had a spiritual hunger have received nourishment. Take now, you nourished souls Jesus for your King and pray from all your heart, that He would not leave you like He has left the sorrowless and gone alone into a high mountain. My hope is, that if He would leave His disciples for a short time to row on the billowy sea of this world, then I am assured, that He will come again to the disciples at night, when the heaven and earth are dark, when you are about to drown in the waves of doubt, just then Jesus comes walking on the water and steps into the small ship. But Peter, if you step into the deep, then be believing, as soon as your faith is lacking, you will begin to sink. And you other disciples, do not fear but take Jesus into the ship, soon you will reach the other shore, soon you will reach the beautiful shore of eternity which has no end. Anoint Jesus for your King, and I believe, that He is a King, namely your King, who have followed Jesus' bloody footsteps, and have intended to follow, and do surely follow that crucified and thorn crowned King, if you are steadfast in your most precious faith to the end. Then when you come into Christ's kingdom, through the grace of Jesus, then Christ has become your King and you the subjects of Christ, and when that great day of the Lord comes He will take His faithful subjects into the Kingdom of glory, where Christ Jesus reigns now and forever. Amen.