Christ the King
A. Campbell Frazier, England, 20th Century
Almighty God, who gave your Son Jesus Christ a realm,
where all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him;
make us loyal followers of our living Lord,
that we may always hear his word
follow his teachings, and live in his Spirit;
And hasten the day when every knee shall bow
and every tongue confess that he is Lord
to your eternal glory. Amen.
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What is a King?
based on John 18:33-37
Rev. Karen A. Goltz
“Are you the King of the Jews?” What a loaded
question! On the one hand, it would be ludicrous for this simple Jewish
peasant, son of a carpenter and citizen of a conquered people, to answer yes.
On the other hand, as Son of the Living God, how could he answer yes when doing
so would suggest that he is king only of the Jews? It’s not in our
lectionary reading today, but Pilate ends this exchange by asking Jesus, “What
is truth?” I think a better question to ask is, “What is a king?”
Pilate had much the same problem that we do.
To him, like us, ‘king’ was a political term, used to identify the person in
charge, the one with all the power. The king was the one who made the laws and
saw to it that they were enforced. He kept the peace within the borders of his
kingdom, and he protected those borders from external threats. Sometimes he
also had to protect himself from internal threats. Particularly in
Jesus’ day, the king of Ancient Rome, Caesar, was believed to be the Son of God
himself, though not the god of Jewish worship and understanding, and any
challenge to Caesar’s authority was a challenge not only to Caesar’s person, but
a challenge to the divine order of the world.
As governor of Judea and an agent of Rome, it was Pilate’s job to help
neutralize any threat to Caesar. This is why he begins questioning Jesus
as he does; the chief priests had denied that their problem with Jesus was an
internal matter of religious doctrine, as Pilate suspected, and rather suggested
that Jesus was indeed a political threat to Rome.....
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