November 22, 2015 • Christ the King Sunday • Audio
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14; Psalm 93:1-5; Revelation 1:4b-8; John 18:33-37
“Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth” (Rev 1:4b-5). Amen.
There are many who have tried to create a long-lasting empire. Some have succeeded. Thankfully, some have not. Thankfully, the Nazis, who bragged that they would have a Reich that would last a thousand years, only lasted 12 horrible years. Of those who lasted more than a thousand years, the Byzantine Empire lasted 1,123 years. The Bruneian Empire in Borneo lasted 1,288 years. The Tonga Empire in the Pacific Ocean, lasted 1,415 years. The Chola Dynasty in India lasted 1,629 years. The Pandyan Empire in India lasted 1,850 years.
But there is a kingdom ruled by a King of kings, that has lasted 2,000 years. Indeed, his throne is even older; for he is the Ancient of Days and his throne is established from of old. His kingdom is not merely ancient; it will extend throughout eternity. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the Almighty King who is and who was and who is yet to come.
This omnipotent, all-ruling one is whom Pontius Pilate asked, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Imagine the King of kings being asked if he was the ruler of a small, earthly kingdom. Jesus replied to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Now that is a true reich or realm, an everlasting kingdom. So, one would imagine that this kingdom would look very different than any realm that the world has ever known. Indeed, his reign is not like the beast’s, a mere earthly domain. The kingdom of Christ is an everlasting kingdom of power and authority that is spiritual too.
Being a spiritual realm, it is marked by holiness. Our King is not marred by the flaws of humanity. Though Jesus was born of a woman, he was conceived by the Holy Spirit. He is God incarnate, God in the flesh, at once divine and human. This is no ordinary king. He is the King of kings, the sinless and only begotten Son of God. He is holy. His kingdom is holy. It’s citizens are also holy.
The citizens of Christ’s kingdom are not holy on their own. Their King is also a priest, the Great High Priest, after the order of Melchizedek, that ancient king of righteousness. As such, he is just to bless his people with his own righteousness. He has liberated us from the kingdom of this world, and made us “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession.” We have been called out of this present darkness and called in to his marvelous light. It is now our duty to proclaim the excellencies of the King of kings. We once were not a people, like those of Roman, Bruneian, Tonga, Chola, and Pandyan Empires. We had no place and no king. But now we are God’s people—not by virtue of any natural birthright or heroic act, but by the mercy of God (1 Pet 2:9-10).
So, we do not fight like earthly kingdoms. We have nothing to take by force. Indeed, even when his servants might have fought to keep him from being delivered to the very people Pilate asked if he was their king, they did not fight. For the fight was the Lord’s. It still is because he is still King. He has overcome the world—sin, death, and the devil—so there is not battle to be won. There is complete victory in King Jesus. That is the truth. He is the truth: the way, the truth, and the life, the King of kings and Lord of lords of an everlasting realm.