Thou sayest that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of truth, heareth My voice.
Whatever one thinks about Jesus Christ, it is impossible to ignore the tremendous reaction that His life caused throughout all nations and people of the world.
His apostles, a mediocre bunch of Jewish fisherman that would never have darkened the pages of any history book, were able to conquer the world with His message. And it was not with armies, or weapons, or great deeds on a battlefield.
It was with something much more powerful. The truth. No borders or defences could ever stop it from entering and conquering the hearts of those who opened their ears to listen.
Jesus Christ proclaimed a wonderful creed that explained the details of man’s fall from his ‘natural’ state. All of us know inherently that we are capable of much greater things than we do each day. It is a truth that men are not only able to be more noble, more gracious, more selfless, more perfect in every way, but that we also aspire to achieve this. Our life is a struggle to attain the state of perfection that is really our natural state.
Jesus Christ proclaimed a wonderful creed that reunited fallen man with God. All of us know within ourselves that our struggle for perfection and our ‘natural’ state is futile if left to our own devices. The spirit indeed is willing, but our flesh is weak. Without God’s help, the best we can hope for is to briefly conquer some part of this world and then vainly defend it from death.
Jesus Christ proclaimed a wonderful creed that gave purpose to life and suffering. He showed how the greatest goodness arises from the darkest evils. It makes sense when you ponder this mystery. Love is really sacrifice. And the greatest love is shown when the sacrifice is strongest.
And Jesus Christ’s teachings did not just stand alone. They were accompanied by many miracles. The hungry were fed, the sick were healed, the lame could walk and the blind were able to see again. But these were not the greatest manifestations of His power. Because the greatest miracles that Christ wrought were over death.
It is no accident that Christ showed His power over death in four separate miracles. He showed His power to raise the newly deceased, restoring life to the daughter of Jairus. And the only son of the widow of Naim was being carried to his grave when Christ returned him to life. Then there was Lazarus, dead so long that his sister is recorded as stating that he ‘stinketh’. Christ commanded him to walk out of his dark tomb and he did, covered in his burial shroud.
Finally, Jesus Christ foretold His own death and resurrected Himself on Easter Sunday. This greatest miracle of all proved His divinity and kingship over men. For men can never hope to conquer death. Only God has that power. And God is the king of kings, by definition, from which all other power and authority is derived. Christ’s death was the sacrifice of love that restored man’s relationship with God, and His resurrection was the seal of His divinity and kingship.
And why did Christ die? Because of His claim to be a divine king. On the day of His death it was the accusation that the Jews put to Pilate. It was this divine claim that Pilate, the representative of the world, interrogated. And this claim was rejected emphatically, by Jew and Gentile alike. But in doing so, it only allowed Christ to show forth His divinity and kingship in greater glory.
Some might think that this is all a bunch of bogus hogwash. They reject the bible. They reject the Christian tradition. But they cannot reject reality without embracing error, the enemy of truth. It was the power of the resurrection that impelled the apostles and disciples to preach truth to the world, regardless of their own well-being. It is the greatest and most absurd hoax of all time if you believe that these men gave their own lives to defend the One who failed to deliver on Easter Sunday.
And if it is the greatest hoax of all time, then we are left with nothing. The other religions of the world offer an unsatisfying mix of error welded onto partial truths that are found only perfectly in Catholicism. And if there is no God, then not only is there no explanation for evil, which is nothing more than an absence or defect in a good, but there is no good at all.
Yet the world, with all its problems, gives testimony to goodness every day. It is as plain as the sun shining from the sky because it is the sun shining from the sky.
It is impossible to deny this natural reality that offers a glimpse of a greater power. Just as a car, or watch, or child does not appear spontaneously, neither did the entire universe. Science might lift the veil from how the laws of nature operate, but it cannot explain how these laws came about, nor the universal power that enforces them.
Only God could have caused the universe, and only God has power over death. Christ proved that He is this God. And, in doing so, that He is also the King.
Men have the freedom to accept this divine kingship. They are not slaves to it. That is why they are able to reject the blinding and thrilling light that accompanies His resurrection from the dead. But that freedom is not without responsibility. The mystery of our life finds purpose only when we accept the responsibility to kneel before this risen King and give ourselves to His service.
But men are not just single persons. We are also individuals, each a small part of a greater society. It is simply schizophrenic to think that each of us has a personal responsibility to accept this King, but that collectively we are able to reject Him. And it is also impossible to freely serve this King when we live in a society that does not.
That is why each nation has a responsibility to accept the divine kingship of Christ too. That is why politics cannot be divorced from His truth. Politicians have ears; Christ has commanded that they hear His voice. When they fail to do so, they reject truth on behalf of the nations they serve. That is a serious consequence that all politicians should ponder.
The Catholic Church has traditionally celebrated the Feast of Christ the King on the last Sunday of October. It is with great joy that I dedicate this post in honour of that day.
Comments are welcome – even those that debate the facts of Christ’s life, or that discuss the role of religion in politics and society – for they provide an opportunity to discover the truth. However, comments that do not lead to a deeper discussion about the truth of Christ’s kingship will not be published. That means no off-topic posts or anti-religious rants.
Those who wish to read further should examine the great encyclical of Pope Pius XI, Quas Primas. It was published on 11 December, 1925.