Christ the King

John 18:33-37

Christ the King Sunday

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

This the last Sunday of our Church year, and it is Christ the King Sunday. We heard in the Gospel today that Jesus, the Son of Man, one day will come and sit on his throne.

The concept of a King is not well known in this country, since we rejected the notion of royalty when our country was founded. In other parts of he world, there are kings that may be royal in name only, and do not have true authority over the Kingdom.

In Middle East, some countries are still ruled by a King, for example the King of Saudi Arabia, a man named Salman, and his son, the Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman, are the sovereigns of the nation.

Today we heard about Pontius Pilate’s inquiry into this kingdom business with Jesus. He wanted to know if Jesus was claiming to be an earthly king, one that might be a threat to the Emperor Tiberius. He is finally convinced that Jesus is no threat, when Jesus tells him, “My kingdom is not from here.”

The Kingship of Jesus is not of the earthly domain. He is the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. His authority does not come from man, but from his Father.

In the Revelation to St John the Divine, we can read this description of Jesus:

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems; and he has a name inscribed which no one knows but himself. He is clad in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, followed him on white horses. From his mouth issues a sharp sword with which to smite the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, King of kings and Lord of lords.

This is like what we read in Daniel today. The Ancient One was on his throne his clothes were white as snow, and his hair was like pure wool.

Then there is the prophecy of Jesus Christ, the King:

I saw one like a human being (this refers to the Incarnation)
coming with the clouds of heaven.
And he came to the Ancient One and was presented before him.
To him was given dominion and glory and kingship,
that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away,
and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed.

What does it really mean for us to have a King? What does a king do for us? The ideal king provides safety and security. He amasses an army to defend us from attack. He takes care of our needs. In return, we offer him our devotion, and worship. We follow his commands, and we serve in his army, helping to defend and protect the weak, the widows, the orphans, and the lame.

And how is Jesus our King? St. Paul said, “He is the head of the body, the church;” We who are the subjects of the King are the church, the Body of Christ. We are members of his body, his hands and his feet. We are the parts of the body who go and do his will.

St. Paul said, “he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything.” The firstborn from the dead refers to his resurrection. He is the first to rise from the dead so that he has the first place in everything. Jesus received his crown in heaven, a coronation more grand than any on earth, ever.

St. Paul wrote in the first letter to the Corinthians about the coming of the Lord, and the resurrection of the dead:

“… then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

Death, the last enemy, is to be destroyed. We have no fear of death, when we accept Jesus as our King. Jesus cares for us more than we could ever care for ourselves. And we when we let him care for us, and be our King, then we can know the peace that passes understanding.

I long to hear those words, and I hope you do, too: “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Amen.

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