The Kingship Of Christ

Christ The King

Feast Of Christ The King

Fr. Peter Robinson

Preached: November 26, 2023

This coming week, we close our Church’s liturgical year. From a liturgy point of view, next Sunday is Advent — liturgically, our Church’s new year! Is it not appropriate then, that we conclude this past liturgical year with this reminder? That our Lord Jesus Christ is King of the universe?

Let’s be honest: we need the comfort of knowing that our Lord is King of all, don’t we? For example, a poll this year (in North America) was taken of Gen Z – (those born between 1997-2012, so those who are currently 11-26 years of age), and the poll listed their top 5 concerns. The results are actually quite surprising …

  1. The rising cost of living
  2. Housing affordability and accessibility
  3. Healthcare
  4. The economy
  5. Climate change and the environment

Given our concerns, as we celebrate Christ the King, we might think that our Church would therefore choose Bible passages that are about crowns, medals, processions and majesty, right? But she does not, our Church. Rather, she turns to Bible passages that speak about “sheep” (which, by the way, are not the most intelligent of animals). In the British countryside, where there are many sheep, they can usually be left to graze on their own. But in the hilly country of today’s Israel, the land of Palestine, there is always a shepherd to look after them. Even today, sheep can be guaranteed to wander, wide-eyed, straight in front of a passing car — and then, in their panic, to run the wrong way.

So, the Prophet Ezekiel tells us (over 500 years before Christ was born) that God promises to “… search for my sheep and … sort them out. As shepherds sort out their flocks when they are among scattered sheep, so I will sort out my sheep” (Eze 34:11-12). And “I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats” (v. 17).

According to St Matthew, Jesus told it this way: Jesus (King of the universe) promises us that there will be a day when the world is finally divided into “sheep” and “goats.” This confrontation will be an experience far more awesome, far more shattering than any description can express. And yet, for those who are faithful to our Lord, it will be fulfilling and re-assuring.

I. First, we will be judged uniquely on our treatment of those in any kind of need. Interestingly, according to Jesus, we will not be judged on the basis of our prayer-life; and not on our asceticism or the penances we have undertaken. No, we will be judged on our respect for others, on how far we look to see what they need and what we can give. In Jesus’ words: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me” (Mat 25:35-36).

II. The second striking point is the reason for the first: that Christ is in some way present in each person > what we do to others, we do to Christ. You see, our Lord’s kingship is modelled on God’s kingship. In fact, Jesus’ first proclamation was “The kingship of God has come upon you.” So, each person we meet is an image-bearer of God. And Jesus will judge us on how we have treated that person, that image-bearer — before us, in her or his need.

So, we celebrate Christ as “king” today. Like sheep, we need God’s care to keep us on the right path. We need God’s strength (and his heart) to respond to the needs of others. We glory today in this fact: our Jesus, who is King of the universe, is also the Good Shepherd. As we start a new Church year, he cherishes us, he guards us, he heals us, he calms our fears, and he even gives his life to us in the Holy Eucharist.

This is what Christ’s kingship is all about …

Tags: , ,
Previous Post

Any Moment Now!

Next Post
The Parable of the Talents

I Did It My Way?