The Church’s liturgical year ends with the celebration of Jesus Christ as King. Jesus is the One who came to earth and gave His life, His all, to save us, to offer us hope and purpose, and to draw us into God’s eternal kingdom. What a great way to end the Church year!
Psalm 89 declares, “The Lord is King, let the earth rejoice!” We rejoice and celebrate the mercy and kindness of Christ the King who by His suffering opened the door to eternal life for us. Christ the King has all power and authority, yet He does not rule by physical and tyrannical might, but with the spiritual power of love, righteousness, justice and peace. But to speak of Christ as king is an insufficient description of the glory, the mystery of God in Christ. The majesty of Christ’s reign transcends the limits of our human languages. So, at best, in attempting to express the inexpressible, we describe Christ’s reign using the imagery of an earthly leader, a king, who subjects nations to his rule.
In this Sunday’s Gospel (John 18:33-37), Jesus is arrested. Those who feared His power thought that by physical might they gained victory over Him. Jesus is taken first to the religious leader, Caiaphas, who himself, was powerless in administering the punishment he desired. Jesus was therefore taken to the political leader, Pilate, the Roman governor. He asks Jesus two questions, “are you the king of the Jews?” “What have you done?” Jesus’ replies, “My kingdom is not of this world…..” Pilate, mystified, asks another question, “So you are a king?” Jesus affirmed his status, “for this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.”
Jesus speaks the truth with authority. He is indeed king, the One who came to lead us away from the chaos and pain of living only for the physical world, and into the rest of God’s glorious kingdom. Instead of fighting physical battles, to accomplish His mission, He rules with humility. He makes Himself vulnerable to the powers of the world, assured that ultimately, the power of truth, love, and righteousness will prevail, and believers will be drawn into the depth of God’s love. God’s ways are truly ways of glory and majesty, yet rooted in the awesome power of love and mercy. We confidently place our trust in the unchangeable certainty of this King, our Lord Jesus Christ. And so, “to Him who loves us and freed us from our sins, by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Rev. 1:5-6)