“My kingdom is not of this world…”
Gospel: John 18:33-37
33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” 35 Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 37 Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
The strategy of the chief priests was to portray Jesus as a violent and military Messiah and a threat to the Roman power. His accusers knew that He was nothing of the kind, of course, but that was not the point. The point was how to get Rome to execute Jesus. They therefore came with an accusation against Him which, if true, would result in the death penalty. The answer to the question of whether or not He was the Messiah, of course, depended entirely on what one meant by the term ‘the King of the Jews.’ To the Romans, it could have only a military meaning, and the question would mean ‘Are you planning to defy and overthrow Roman power?’ To the Jews, the question could have a more spiritual meaning: ‘Are you a teacher of truth and a bringer of eternal life?”
Relating the Gospel to our lives today.
The celebration of Christ the King was introduced by Pope Pius XI in 1925. These were dark times. We were in the grip of a worldwide economic depression, and desperately looking for answers. There were some outspoken leaders who believed that they had answers. One was the Italian leader, Mussolini, another was a young rabble-rouser by the name of Adolf Hitler. The world was watching, waiting for answers, and listening to these powerful men competing for the limelight, and the Pope felt that it was time to call on Christian people everywhere to declare their allegiance to the rule of Christ.
Almost 90 years later we are going through similar dark times. Our political leaders today also proclaim totalitarian ‘solutions’ to not just economic difficulties, but to social/moral issues. But for us as Christians, it doesn’t really matter who is in power at any given moment in time. Christ is our King and He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. His Kingdom is not of this world. Politicians’ ways are not His ways. Politicians’ goals are not His goals. With Christ as our King, we can refuse to adhere to the institutional authority of any political leader who chooses to put them-selves and their ideologies above that of God. Rather, together with our King, we move forward through love, sacrifice and service.
It’s not easy to follow our King. We know that the Gospel concludes not with Jesus striding from the palace victorious, but with the apparent failure of Him being taken away and executed. But of course it is precisely through His death and glorious resurrection that we can proclaim: Christ is King! – His, the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory, for ever and ever. Amen!
- “My Kingdom is not of this world.”
- Jesus’ Kingship is one of love, sacrifice and service.
- How can I show this Kingship to those around me?
Help me to be a good parent. Help me to understand your way of being King. Give me the courage to live a life of sacrifice and service. Give me the courage to stand firm as your follower, in the truth you have given us. Please pour out your Holy Spirit on our leaders here on Earth so they may also have the courage to stand up for the truth.
Thank You, I love You Jesus. Amen.