Of the 193 countries in the world that are members of the UN, some 26 of them are monarchies. In the US we are not very familiar with kings, queens, and royalty except for, like, Carnival krewes! In 1925, however, Pope Pius XI established the feast that is now known as the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. This was his attempt to address and combat the rampant secularism of his times. How much worse that is today and therefore how much more do we need Christ the King today!
THE BATTLE TODAY IS AROUND OUR KING
In one of his talks, papal preacher Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa tells of ancient battles when the king would be embedded in the conflict along with his troops. As the fighting increased, the surviving warriors gradually moved closer to their king in order to defend him – hence the saying, “the battle is fiercest around the king.” Fr. Cantalamessa says that this illustrates where the Church is today, when the battle is fiercest around the Person of Jesus Christ our King.
There are serious attacks today against Jesus the King on many fronts. One of the most serious attacks is that which says or implies that Jesus Christ is not the only way to salvation, that he is only one way to heaven among many others, that Jesus and other religious founders and leaders are all on the “same level,” so to speak.
The word of God teaches clearly that Jesus is the only Savior sent by God to redeem humanity: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). And Jesus said in John 10:10: “I am the door; if anyone enters through me, he will be saved…” St. Paul witnesses to the uniqueness of Jesus in 1 Cor. 3:11: “For no foundation can anyone lay other than that which is laid, which is Christ.” And again in 1 Tim. 2:5: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
LIKE IT OR NOT, HE IS THE KING!
Last fall I read about an archbishop who said that he does not want or have Jesus as king in his life. There were many who were shocked and who criticized this comment of his. Apparently, the archbishop felt it smacked too much of what he called “triumphalism.” Regardless of this particular opinion, the fact is that Jesus’ kingship marked the very beginning and very end of his life on earth. Recall that when the Magi were searching for the newborn king of the Jews, King Herod told them to let him know when they found this infant so that he might also come and offer homage. In fact, Herod’s designs were murderous, as witnessed by his massacre of the Innocents.
The Kingship of Jesus also figured prominently in his trial before Pilate. “Are you the king of the Jews?”, Pilate questioned. Jesus answered, “My kingship is not of this world…” It seems that Pilate kept returning to the topic of the kingship of Jesus, however, and in fact made it the charge that was attached to the cross: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. When the chief priests objected to the wording, Pilate said, “What I have written, I have written” (John 19:22).
AND HE SHALL REIGN FOREVER AND EVER!
The Kingship of Jesus comes up in the Book of Revelation. It says in 17:14, “They (enemies of God) will make war on the Lamb and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings…” And again in 19:16, there is the powerful description of Jesus as a victorious warrior on a white horse: “On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, King of kings and Lord of lords.” In Revelation 11:15, loud voices in heaven proclaim: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
I think it’s safe to say that this world is still in desperate need of Jesus Christ as Lord of lords and King of kings! Jesus is at one and the same time Shepherd and Lamb, Priest and Victim, Suffering Servant and Risen Lord – but he is and always will be King as well! Because there will come a time, as described in 1 Cor. 15:24;28, “when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every authority and power…so that God may be all in all.”
Alleluia! Reign Lord Jesus! Thy kingdom come!