Christ the King

Today we finish our liturgical year with the Feast of Christ the Universal King. So, what is it that we are celebrating today? To gain an understanding of Christ’s kingship we need to consider the Old Testament and see the its beginnings. We discover, that originally, there was to be no king and Samuel the prophet was against the request for one (read 1 Samuel 8). Samuel thought the appeal for one was an act of rebellion, as the God of Israel was their true king, who governed his flock through the Covenant with the guidance of the prophets. The rebellion was to reject this kind of leadership and become like the nations around them and have a king who would also lead them into battle.

To the Prophet Samuel’s surprise, after he had vigorously opposed the monarchy, God agrees to the people’s demands. The first choice was Saul, which was not a great success. It was in the second choice of David that God gives a new form to kingship. Yet, great as David was, he had some serious dark deeds to his record. He was a great sinner, yet he was also a serious penitent. David became a sort of benchmark of what a Messiah/Christ/King should be. In the sense, God writes clear and straight through the crooked lines of David’s sins (and our mistakes and failings as well). Israel had a king, but only in the understanding that the true and eternal king is always God. Indeed, the coronation service for the kings was a kind of adoption by God of the prince as His Anointed King/Messiah.

Now in Jesus, the son of a carpenter, we see the two ideas coming together. We do indeed have a royal descendant of David (a royal family that had hit hard times and reduced to insignificance), yet through his appalling death and victorious resurrection, he is manifested as God in our humanity. The word for this is ‘consubstantial’ – sharing the same substance as us. So, Christ is at one with his Father and at the same time one with us. That is a kind of bridge. The Latin word for a priest is a bridge maker (pontifex in the Latin)”. Our bridge, Jesus Christ, is our King, Lord, Eternal High Priest, Mediator and Saviour – and that is a great job description.