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Christ the King B: November 22, 2021

John 18: 33b-37


By Rev. John Tran

Jesus is not a king like the ancient Egyptian king, Ramses, whose arrogant motto was inscribed on temples still standing, “I am the greatest.” Jesus is not a king like the king of China, a savage tyrant who used millions of slaves to build the Great Wall of China, a wall so huge that it can be seen from the moon. He is not a king like Louis XIV, who lived in excessive luxury in his Versailles palace of 1000 rooms. Jesus is different in that he was not born of a reigning King, though He is of the royal House of David. Rather, as Scripture tells us, Jesus is the One Whom God “will choose as king….” There is no other king like Jesus, for Jesus is a Divine King, none other than the very Son of God, the Messiah. Jeremiah calls Him, “the Lord of our Salvation.” (v. 6) St. Paul sees Jesus as “the image of the invisible God” and in Whom dwells “all the fullness of God.” Jesus himself knows who, and whose, he is, for he says, “The Father and I are one … he who has seen me has seen the Father.”


In democratic countries like ours who are ruled by a President, we have no real working knowledge of a King. We may have some idea from the king or queen of Great Britain, Spain, Holland, Belgium, or the Scandinavian countries, but no actual experience of what a king does. And even in those countries, the monarch usually has very limited power to govern.


However, we usually think of a king in terms or earthly power and the glory of this world. We think of fine clothes, palaces, fancy food and drink; we think of honor given to them by their people, maybe something like a rock superstar. This is not the image of a king we get from the gospel today. Rather we have a king who is stripped naked, publicly humiliated, and sentenced to death. That’s not our image of a king. But that’s what a true king looks like:


A good king is someone who is strong enough to appear weak; who can be vulnerable, silent, and helpless in order to be the ultimate instruments in ordering, carrying, feeding, and blessing others.


A good king is someone who has a big enough heart to accept pettiness, who cares enough to accept humiliation, and who is faithful enough to do what is right even when it is misunderstood.


A good king is someone who is tall enough to let himself be small, secure enough to disappear in anonymity, and mature enough to not be put off by immaturity.


A good king is someone who is selfless enough to absorb selfishness, loving enough to be gracious towards what is bitter, and forgiving enough to bless what is killing him.


A good king is someone who makes those around him feel safe, who carries others rather than ask them to carry him, who feed others rather than feeds off them, and who affirms others rather than asking them to affirm him.


In short, a good king looks more like Christ on the cross than like an earthly superstar in his glory. But that is what made Jesus’ life and death redemptive. It is also very much what the life of a Christian looks like. It is exactly what our lives should look like. It is the life of one who is striving to bring about the Kingdom of the Father, the true Kingdom.

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