2 Sam 5:1-3; Col 1:12-20; Lk 23:35-43
“Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” With that, the poet demolishes our imaginary picture of the king, and interposes centuries of ruin between the mighty kings and us: All the works of the mighty kings sink into oblivion in thecourse of time. All the mighty kingdoms had met with their inevitable destiny of disintegration. Some lasted for decades, some others for centuries and became a part of history. But there is only one kingdom that grows strengthens from decade to decade, from century to century and from millennia to millennia, conquering the hearts of millions; that is the Kingdom of Jesus, the king of the universe.
During the trial Pilate asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" Jesus replied, "You have said it." (Luke 23:3). "You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." (Jn 18:37) After a few hours, the same king stood elevated on the cross with the inscription INRI, (Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum - "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews") By placing this title Pilate had made an involuntary, but historical proclamation that Jesus is the King not only of the Jews but of the Universe. Many a time such involuntary proclamations of Jesus’ Kingship are heard from unbelievers. The soldiers made a crown of long, sharp thorns and put it on his head, and they put a royal purple robe on him, and shouted, "Hail! King of the Jews!"(John 19)
The Feast of Christ the King was established on December 11, 1925 by Pope Pius XI. After the First World War and the Bolshevik Revolution, the inhuman atrocities and untold misery, made people lose their hope and faith in the just world. Then, the Pope reasserted with the proclamation of the Feast of Christ the King, that in spite of wars and insurrections, Jesus remains the King of all history, all time, and all creation and of the entire universe. In 1969, Pope Paul VI gave the celebration a new title, and he assigned to it the highest rank, that of "Solemnity".
This king; the king of the Jews, the King of the Universe, the king of the living and the dead established a kingdom that stands the test of time. As it grows, it declares “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” What made this kingdom imperishable and mighty are the noble principles set forth and practiced by the king himself.
Alexander, Caesar, Akbar, Napoleon, all leaders in the world, even the greatest, died and left their followers to their lot, or to serve another ruler often less gifted and less kind than they had been. But there is only one king in the whole of history who had served his followers, and left them to serve him alone. The total number of Christians martyred in the early church is unknown. Even today, an average of 171,000 Christians worldwide give up their life to declare loyalty to their king. (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (2006). Approximately 2 billion Christians in the world today declare him to be their king. His kingdom is everlasting, because it is built on the everlasting principles.
Hu Hai was the second emperor of the Qin Dynasty (221BC-206BC). Hu Hai indulged in the super luxurious life. He forged a large number of peasants from around the country to build Epang Palace and the mausoleum in Lishan Mountain. He ordered 50,000 soldiers to defend the capital and all parts of the country were forced ceaselessly to provide provisions to the capital. Several of the Roman emperors, unmatched in wealth and power, fully demonstrated a capacity for luxury and gluttony. Among these emperors, Claudius (ruled 41–54 C.E.) is famous. The luxury banquet laid out in the famous tomb of King Tutankhamen of Egypt (died 1352 B.C.E.), intended for the monarch to enjoy in the afterlife, included a gourmet selection of wines inscribed with names of wine districts— one may call them— the Nile Valley, the Nile Delta, and the Oases. Hundreds of attendants waited on them. Against this background, there came a king, giving a shocking surprise to his followers. He washed the feet of His followers and waited on them. He performed a gesture that had never been heard of, and commanded his followers to do it, and to follow it as a new commandment in his Kingdom. “By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.” Teachers Proverbs. (Proverbs 22:4). “Humility is the only true wisdom by which we prepare our minds for all the possible changes of life.” Says George Arliss. The Psalmist asserts that the Lord hears only the humble, “Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear” (Psalm 10:17) Hence, humility should be one of the inevitable qualities to gain entry into his Kingdom. This made his Kingdom unique and everlasting.
Secondly, Jesus was the only King who expressed his concern for the sick and suffering, at a time when kings were even ready to sacrifice thousands as a remedy for their illness.
The noble Constantine, Emperor of Rome, was in the full flower of his age, goodly to look upon, strong and happy, when a great and sudden affliction came upon him. Constantine withdrew himself from his lords, gave up all use of arms, abandoned his imperial duties, and shut himself in his palace, where he lived such a secluded life, and all men throughout the empire talked of his illness and prayed to their gods to heal him. When everything seemed to be in vain, Constantine summoned all the doctors, learned men, and physicians from every realm to Rome, that they might consider his illness and try if any cure could be found for his malady. They sat in silence, till at last one very old and very wise man, a great physician from Arabia, arose and said: “Let the Emperor dip himself in a full bath of the blood of infants and children, seven years old or under, and he shall be healed, and his leprosy shall fall from him; for this malady is not natural to his body, and it demands an unnatural cure." Thereupon the council drew up letters, under the emperor's hand and seal, and sent them out to all the world, bidding all mothers with children of seven years of age or under to bring them with speed to Rome, that there the blood of the innocents might prove healing to the emperor's malady.
The kings of the world did everything to cure themselves, but Jesus did everything to heal others. Whenever the sick and the suffering approached Jesus he found time for them. Thus, he went about, healing the deaf, giving sight to the blind, cleansing the leapers and making the lame walk. That tradition is preserved by all his followers, and this made his kingdom everlasting.
Thirdly, He sympathized with the people in their suffering. History tells us that the Kings and Emperors held bloody games in the amphitheater to entertain themselves. Nero played piano while Rome burned during the great fire. But, Jesus went out into the streets with sympathy in his heart. Even on his way to the Calvary, he took time to console the women who lamented at his suffering.
These made the kingdom of Jesus different from all other kingdoms. When the worldly kingdoms disintegrated, Jesus’ kingdom has been strengthened continuously. It declares, “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Since we are the members of this kingdom, we are bound to practice its fundamental virtues, that others will recognize us as the citizens of the kingdom of Jesus.