Hail, O Christ, Our King!
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
We imagine a king in a throne room, surrounded by gold and jewels and fawning courtiers, living a life of luxury and taking advantage of his subjects. This is not the Kingship of Jesus Christ. Even the secular kings of Jesus’ time did not fit this image. The king was expected to sit at the city gates and preside over disputes between his people. He was expected to lead his people into battle, protect them from aggressors, and rule justly over all. He was bound to his people, and they to him. Furthermore, the King of Israel was expected to behave with all the piety of a Levitical priest, offering sacrifice to God in the temple and leading his people at worship. In short, the king was expected to be the model and exemplar of his people, their defender and their champion.
The people identified themselves by their king. We even have a term for this: “corporate identity.” We, as Christians, identify ourselves with Christ Jesus. We are His, and He is ours, inseparably. We expect Jesus to be a judge both strong and just, unswayed by politics or human opinion. We, even more than the people of Israel, expect our King to be Divine in His behavior, and we shall not be disappointed. We expect Jesus to thwart our enemies and judge justly and fairly with all people. He has exceeded our expectations by defeating our greatest enemy: death itself. He conquered this foe by His self-sacrificing love, and paid the just penalty for our sins with His own Precious Blood.
How shall we repay such a great king? Do we honor Him who has given us perfect example and eternal providence? God’s Kingdom is opened to us by Jesus Christ our King. We have only to submit ourselves to His legitimate authority and bind ourselves again to the Divine King who has irrevocably bound our humanity to Himself.
Hail, O Christ, our King! Reign in our hearts, minds, and souls! Draw us to Yourself and give us the humility to accept Your Kingship forever.
Peace in Christ,
Father Matthew Kuhn