Christ the King

Crucifix from Chapel of the Cross in St. Louis

“So, you are a king?” Cynical Pontius Pilate spoke those words at Jesus’ trial. But as is often the case, in the Gospels the enemies of Christ speak the most profound truths about Him. The demons always get him right. The centurion at the foot of the cross is one of the first to call him the Son of God. Even Caiaphas the High Priest understands that it is better that one man die instead of the whole people. They rarely mean what they say or like it, but their words are often the most correct.

We hear Christ proclaimed as King this week, no matter which set of readings you use. But do we citizens of a republic even know what a king is? Our founding fathers shed their blood to rid us of kings. A few years later, the French people rose up in horrific revolt against their monarch. We rather like the Queen of England these days, but she is hardly what the Bible means when it calls Christ the King. A constitutional monarch wields precious little power. Jesus is claiming power, real power, all power, when He lays claim to that throne. He does not have to get spending bills passed by a parliament of angels or saints.

The Preacher than has a significant task if he would preach Christ the King. We sneer at obedience these days. We call obedient people “sheep” and assert our rights. I really doubt that there will be a second amendment to the constitution in heaven, or a first amendment for that matter. They won’t be needed. There won’t even be a Magna Charta or any limitation on the power of that sovereign. Lesser magistrates will not have the responsibility to disobey this monarch. Does that frighten us? Or does it comfort us? How do we preach this King?

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