2 Samuel 5:1-3
One of the most shocking facts in the New Testament is that most people of Israel were disappointed at the coming of Jesus. It was a long held belief that a messiah would come who would free them from Roman rule. Along comes Jesus as an infant born in a manger with regular parents. We learn of some traumatic happenings in his early childhood and one episode when he is a pre-teen and then silence until he is an adult.
When Jesus does appear as an adult he gathers followers from the working class, mostly laborers and people on the fringe of society. In his public life of teaching, preaching and healing he is opposed by the leaders of his religion. He is put to death as a criminal. How can this man be a king? And yet today, we celebrate the feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe.
As people of faith we go beyond the surface facts and absorb the deep truths of sacred scripture. The first reading from Colossians describes Jesus this way:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.
This is a far different image than that of his opponents.
Our God is all-powerful, not because of possessing immense power, but because of loving immensely. God acts without limits and conditions so as to be of service to all people. God is not omnipotent in order to have power over people but rather to be of service. This is the Jesus we see who stoops to wash the disciples’ feet, that touches lepers, that heals women as well as men and is the authentic face of the almighty God, the King of the universe.
Our King of the universe does not rule from an imposing throne; he is nailed to a cross. He is not surrounded by trappings of royalty but by soldiers and by those who mock and insult him. Even the inscription on the cross proclaims Jesus as the king of the Jews, but as a defeated person, unable to defend himself and devoid of any power.
If he came down from the cross, he would betray his mission. He would be supporting the false idea of a God that most of the people and the spiritual leaders of the people want. Instead, he acts without limits and conditions so he can give himself fully out of love for the service of people.
Can we see in the person of Jesus unbounded love and generosity in self-giving? Can we be as generous and self-giving for those around us? Can we place our faith in this Jesus? Can we accept this Jesus as our king?
What thoughts do you have when we call Jesus King of the universe?
How can you imitate the self-giving love of God?