Even after Israel had experienced the vagaries of kings, the people still longed for a true king to set things right. He would have the king’s title of Anointed One (Messiah); he would be the “one like a human being” (Son of Man) given dominion in Daniel’s vision. Jesus is given these titles, even though he is nothing like an earthly king. His authority comes from the truth to which he bears witness, and those who recognize the truth voluntarily listen to him. We look forward to the day he is given dominion, knowing his victory will be the nonviolent victory of love.
Readings and Psalm
- Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
The one coming with the clouds rules over all
- Psalm 93
Ever since the world began, your throne has been established. (Ps. 93:2)
- Revelation 1:4b-8
Glory to the one who made us a kingdom
- John 18:33-37
The kingdom of Christ
Love Redefines Power and Dominion
In fairy tales, kings live in a castle, usually located on a hill (a safe place), surrounded by a moat for the utmost protection for the king and family. Modern political leaders often have more technologically advanced means to provide a similar level of safety against would-be attackers. Because of these preconceived notions of what kings are, hearers will need to be reminded that Jesus redefined the title “king.” The appointed psalm says, “The waters have lifted up, O Lord, . . . the waters have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the sound of many waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea, mightier is the Lord who dwells on high” (Ps. 93:3-4). While a king might have the ability to sail atop a roaring, chaotic sea, Christ the King is one who stills the waves (Mark 4:35-41).
In John’s gospel for today, Jesus says “For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth” (John 18:37). Perhaps the ‘this’ Jesus is referring to is a motioning with his hands to the cross, the most clear demonstration of God’s love for humanity and the truest definition of kingship. Jesus redefines what power is and what people think God’s power looks like to fight evil and suffering in the world. Jesus does not resist the way of the cross with force.
Rather than protecting himself from harm in any way, the vulnerable King Jesus dares to demonstrate God’s love for all people. Jesus does not run from pain, anguish, or suffering. Rather, the risen Jesus, “the ruler of the kings of the earth” (Rev. 1:5), rushes to the places of disaster and suffering in the world. Jesus goes where storms are ravaging and have ravaged lives and brings life and calm into the chaos.