What Kind of King is Jesus?

by | Nov 21, 2021 | Sermons

What Kind of King is Jesus?

This morning is Christ the King Sunday and we reflect on what kind of king is Jesus? Much of the language of scripture as it revolves around kings and kingdoms isn’t part of our popular word usage today. We don’t talk in the concept of kings and kingdoms, but as Christians we profess Christ as Lord and King. So what kind of king is Jesus?

Scripture: Revelation 1: 4b-8 and John 18: 33-37

What is a hero?

A hero is often defined as one who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities. When we think of heroes, we might think of those who have served in armed conflicts. Perhaps we think of first responders, police, fire, and paramedics. We may have an individual in our lives that acted in such a way that they are our own personal hero. Ask most kids what is a hero and I suspect you might hear a lot about superheroes. Characters that were once confined to comic books, but now which have more movies made than anything else.

In most cases, a hero is someone who has done or is doing something exceptional. Something that most others are unable to do.

Jesus doesn’t fit the popular definition of what a hero is. As Christian’s we don’t venerate Jesus as a hero, rather we have a variety of other titles that we use when we think about Jesus. Wonderful counsellor, prince of peace, Messiah, Lord and King.

We don’t often speak of kings and kingdoms in regular conversation. While we may be part of a constitutional monarchy, our monarch is symbolic and doesn’t hold temporal power. We don’t talk in the language of kingdoms, but of nations. Much of the language that scripture uses on this topic isn’t part of vernacular anymore. Yet, we retain a historic notion of what these things were. We know what a king is, we have an understanding of what a kingdom was like.

What kind of king is Jesus?

What exactly does the kingdom of God look like? When Jesus says my kingdom is not from here, what does he really mean? Where is heaven? Is it some alternate realm we can’t perceive? Does it exist outside of time and space? Is it a place yet to be? Or is it a kingdom that is radically opposed to how we organize that we can’t perceive it because we fail to act differently?

Samuel Cruz writes, “The values of Jesus’ kingdom are so vastly different from those of this world that often we Christians fail to understand them. The church, which purports to—and should—represent Jesus’ kingdom, is here to serve in humility rather than to seek earthly power. Jesus is the king, yet he does not arrive in a chariot, but on a donkey! Jesus is a king who is killed by those with societal power, not a king who is victorious over his enemies by defeating them in war.” (Samuel Cruz)

What kind of king is Jesus?

A king who is not seeking power and glory, who is not seeking war or conquest, but one who walks humbly and who seeks to serve others.

In his encounter with Pilate Jesus demonstrates how radically different the kingdom of God is. If Jesus is a king and he is, then his kingdom looks radically different than anything that existed at the time. It also looks like nothing we who have claimed to follow Jesus have been able to mimic. The Romans ruled through the Pax Romana¸ the Peace of Rome, which was enforced through the threat of violence at the hands of the Roman army. Jesus told Peter to put up the sword. In a world propped up by violence, Jesus said find a peaceful way. In a society that didn’t properly care for the poor and needy, Jesus chose the poor and needy.

In their encounter Jesus is presented a ‘king of the Jews’, to Pilate that means Jesus must be a ruler, a leader as the world understands it. But what he meets is the opposite and he is unable to reconcile this understanding. Indeed, even today we are unable to reconcile what it means to follow Christ, the prince of peace.

Chelsey Harmon writes, “If I were to ask you or the members of your church, “What is the most important thing about the Kingdom of God?” How many of us would answer with something about ourselves? Many of us would quickly rattle off the no-brainer: “That Jesus died for my sins.” Some of us might take a moment and consider answering with something equally true, but which feels a little riskier because of its broad openness to interpretation, saying something like: “God is love.”

Jesus’ answer, at least in this particular instance, is “God came to into the world to testify to the truth.” (verse 37) There is no getting around it: truth.” (Chelsey Harmon)

The life and ministry of Jesus testifies to the truth that the poor weren’t cared for. The life and ministry of Jesus testifies to the truth that the sick weren’t provided for. The life and ministry of Jesus testifies to the truth that laws, specifically religious laws, were enforced to maintain power imbalances. The life and ministry of Jesus testifies to the truth that when those who are in power fear threatened by the truth, they react with violence and force.

What kind of king iss Jesus?

A non-violent, non-conformist who sought to teach that the primary rule which mattered was love. Love for God, love for neighbour as self. That the kingdom of God has always existed, will always exist so long as these values are lived out. This is the gift of grace and mercy that is freed within us through Christ.

What kind of king is Jesus?  

One who would die in order to show you that the cycles of violence, sacrifice, and selfishness are destructive. That only by embracing the goodness and love inherent in all of us can we flourish. A king who would die to demonstrate the values on which the kingdom is founded.

What kind of king is Jesus?

The Alpha and the Omega, the one who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. Amen.

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Cobourg is part of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. The congregation was established in 1833 and continues to serve the community.

St. Andrew’s supports the gathering of community agencies, providing space for the Affordable Housing Committee. Rev. Ellis’ voice is key in advocating for improvements in awareness, empathy and action on key determinants such as housing, income and food security. 

Kristina Nairn

Public Health Nurse, HKPR Health Unit

Donate to St. Andrew's

Thank you for visiting St. Andrew’s. It’s our prayer that this sermon was helpful to your walk of faith. We would ask you to prayerful consider donating to the mission of St. Andrew’s. You can make an online donation through our website. 

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This