“If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.”
This weekend we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. This celebration marks the end of our liturgical year, with the celebration of Advent beginning next week.
As we celebrate the reality of the kingship of Christ, we are forced to confront our idea of power. Like the soldiers who mocked Jesus on the cross, power seems to us to be the ability to “save yourself.” If Jesus was God and therefore all-powerful, the soldiers’ question makes perfect sense. If you are king, can’t you do whatever you want? Why would you ever choose to suffer?
But as followers of Jesus we see power differently. Power is not the ability to “save yourself.” Rather, true power is the ability to love and sacrifice. Jesus’ power is revealed on the cross. This royal power is not self-serving. It is a power for others.
Instead of using His power to save himself, Jesus used His power to save us. He entered into our suffering and brought the King there. He did not avoid the darkness of pain, suffering, and death. Jesus brought His light into our pain and suffering, even to the point of death. Light overcomes the darkness, not by fleeing but simply by being there.
Jesus is our King. He does not save Himself, but comes to us, especially in our pain and suffering. The power of His light banishes the darkness. His royalty is not something great for Jesus. It is good news for us. Thanks be to God!
Dcn. Lincoln A. Wood