Several weeks before the presidential election, one of our city’s Protestant Church’s sign board proclaimed the following message: Regardless of who is President, Jesus is King of the World.
Hopefully when we gathered with family and friends on Thanksgiving Day we took time to remember who is the source of all we have — and all who ever hope to be. Our God is the “alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end … the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.” [Revelation 1:5-8]
In the Gospel [John 18:33-37], Pilate asks Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Eventually Jesus answers. “My kingdom does not belong to this world.” …. the kingdom of Jesus does not belong to this world.
First, this distinguishes the kingdom of Jesus, the kingdom of God from the world in which we live. Does this mean that Jesus is rejecting this world? NO. There are many scriptures that support the belief that Jesus wants us to transform the world, to make it better. He wants us to be citizens of this world and citizens of the world to come. He wants us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked … to love our neighbor. In other words, we are to live in this world. BUT, within this world, we do draw a line … we recognize that this world has limits … this world and everything of it cannot meet all our needs, especially the ultimate desire …. to live forever. We are to enjoy the things of the earth and to love the things of heaven. We vote, we watch the news, we go to movies, we follow sports — AND WE REALIZE CLEARLY, this is not all there is! This world cannot satisfy my ultimate needs. No matter how hard we work, this world will never be perfect — there will always be problems and challenges.
Second: the principles of the kingdom of Jesus are not the same as the principles of this world. For Jesus — might does not make right; the majority is not always right; dominance of the weaker by the stronger is not ok; in the kingdom of Jesus everyone is REALLY AND TRULY equal. Character is more important than power, prestige, and money.
[Third], because Jesus is King, there should be a certain sense of calm and peace in our lives — if we understand what it means for him to be King. It is easy to become upset when we watch the news reports of what is happening in Gaza and in Israel. We can wonder and fear that this will lead to all out war and ask how we will become involved. The talk about the FISCAL CLIFF make us wonder how this might affect me — food costs, taxes, unemployment. ALL THESE THINGS ARE DISTURBING …. but, if we can pay REALISTIC attention and show REALISTIC concern —— then pull back and gain strength in our FAITH that Jesus is King and if we stand with him ….. all will be well.
In a sense I am saying, we live in the world around us, but we are rooted in the kingdom of God. We walk the earth, but we are grounded in the kingdom. I care about what happens in the world, but my HOPE is in the kingdom of God.
Remember why the Church established this Feast: as communism and socialism gained strength on the stage where capitalism already reigned — the Church said, wait a minute: none of these “systems” has the answer. And we have seen that: Presidents come and go; dictators come to power and fall; But, as Jesus taught last week — his words will never pass away — he will be with us until the end of time .
“His dominion is an everlasting dominion, that shall not be taken away, his kingship will not be destroyed.” [Daniel 7:13-14]
Want certainty? Stand with Jesus, the King. Want peace? Side with Jesus.