Grace and peace to you from God our father and our lord and savior Jesus Christ
I have been wondering lately about why we use this reading from John for Christ the king Sunday. It seems a little odd doesn't it, that we celebrate the kingship of Jesus amid all the wonderful hymns celebrating the glory of Jesus reign, with a reading from Jesus encounter with Pilate on the day of Jesus greatest humiliation
It would seem to be easier to concentrate on either the reading from Daniel or the reading from revelation! In Daniel we hear about dominion and glory and kingship, and that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed. And in revelation we hear the Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. Now that's the kind of king we can understand!!
Maybe that's why the folks who set up the lectionary we follow gave us this gospel for today.
We are reminded that Jesus is King but we are also reminded that his Kingdom is not from the world. Jesus kingdom and power come from God, so when Jesus claims his kingdom in John's gospel He is not claiming an earthly kingdom.
Jesus says that if he and his followers were of this world, then they would use the primary tool this world provides for establishing and keeping power: violence. But Jesus is not of this world and so Jesus will not defend himself through violence. Jesus will not establish his claims by violence. Jesus will not usher in God's kingdom by violence. Jesus will make no followers by violence. Jesus kingdom is the kingdom of truth
I added a verse to today's gospel. It is Pilate's question, "What is truth?" I added it because I think truth is something we all seek, but can probably never really know
Every year it seems we have a new and different truth about one thing or another. Take chocolate for instance. I have always known the truth about chocolate: chocolate is good,
chocolate is necessary for life; chocolate is in fact a gift of God! But if you read the history of news about chocolate, you will see big differences in the "truth."
One year we are told chocolate is bad for us; too much caffeine, bad for your teeth etc. etc.
And yet the very next year we might hear scientific "proof" that chocolate is in fact good for us! Full of antioxidants and other good things chocolate makes you healthy.
The same can be said for any number of things, politics, coffee, wine. The truth about these things changes all the time.
But the truth Jesus testifies to never changes. The truth Jesus brought to the world, the truth Pilate and the others couldn't handle, Is that God loves us
It sounds too simple doesn't it? God loves us. But that truth, if we really believe it, changes everything! Because God loves us, we don't have to let the fears of the world paralyze us.
We can welcome the refugee and care for the outcast. Because God loves us, we have the courage to pray for our enemies. Because God loves us, we have the humility to accept our own sinful nature, and pray to God to help us be better.
Jesus may not be the king some of his followers wanted, but he is also not the king Pilate and the religious leaders sought to destroy. Jesus was and is the king who accepted humiliation and death at our hands, because of God's love. And even though he was struck down he became more powerful and glorious a king than any of us could imagine.
When I was talking about this reading with my son Daniel, he said this gospel reminded him of a scene from the first Star Wars movie. When Darth Vader is about to kill Obi-Wan Kenobi
Obi-Wan says "You can't win Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine!"
I wonder where George Lucas got that idea!
Love God, love your neighbor, be the body of Christ in the world Rev. Marie Meeks Dobbs Ferry Lutheran Church email@example.com