A Different Kind of King

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 18:33B-37.

Pilate said to Jesus,
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own
or have others told you about me?”
Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?”
Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world,
my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”
So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?”
Jesus answered, “You say 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.”


Reflection

There was a great confusion on the identity of Jesus even until hours before His death. Pontius Pilate could not comprehend why this religious leader should die for the title of “King”. Jesus was fast becoming a nuisance to public order. The Jewish religious leaders appear to be irrational in their attacks against Him. What is more troublesome is Jesus’ own peaceful acceptance of what is happening. Is Jesus a King or not?

We, like Pilate, often fall into the trap of boxing Jesus in our concept of King. Jesus is a different kind of King. He is not troubled by the evils of His trials. He knows everything is in place. Even when He looks powerless He is still in control. Knowing His true identity and purpose gives Him confidence that defies human courage.

He was not after political power. He was not after religious superiority. This King came calling for His sheep, sheep who are able to recognize His true identity. This is His Kingdom: the relationship between Shepherd and the sheep steeped in a love that subjugates all things.

The Church at the end of the liturgical calendar ties up together the end and the beginning of the year – that Christ is King because everything begins and ends with Him. His Kingdom is not spatial but existential, not only temporal but eternal. For anyone who accepts Christ as King, that is, who allows Jesus’ love to shape His very being, allows this King to shape his very existence and share in His eternity.



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