Last Sunday after Pentecost, November 25
Pilate asks Jesus directly, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus, seeming to evade, answers with a question: “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” No question put to Jesus will find an answer if the question is a trap. On his own terms and in the divine freedom of his will, Jesus says, “My kingdom is not from this world.” Thus, he has a kingdom of which he is the king. In a sense, however, he is not the king of the Jews; rather, he is not the king merely of the Jews. He is king over everyone who belongs to the truth, which he himself is, and he is king over those who listen to his voice. His kingship and his kingdom are ever secure, and thus he forswears violence. Jesus reigns supreme, high above all nations. (John 18:33-37).
“In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world” (John 16:33).In this world we expect trial and hardship, challenge and loss, persecution and bitterness of every kind. We expect to work by the sweat of our brow and bear the blessing of life in pain. We expect this and we face this, but not as those who are without hope. Our help is in the name of the Lord. Our help and hope reside in heaven, where victory and life and healing are assured.
Consider the Father and the Son and sacred flame of the Spirit in the mystery of heaven. “As I watched,” the prophet says, calling the reader and listener to watch and wait and wonder at the victory and power of God. “As I watched, thrones were set in place, and an Ancient One took his throne, his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, and its wheels were burning fire” (Dan. 7:9). Do we see the night vision? God Almighty! God the Ancient One! God forever and ever! Fiery flames and burning wheels!
There is a divine person who stands before the throne. “As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a human being coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient One and was presented before him” (Dan. 7:13). In like manner, the author of the letter to the Hebrews writes, “For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf” (Heb. 9:24). Jesus is our king precisely because of what he has done on our behalf. He has assumed our human nature; he has borne the crushing weight of evil and the sediment of guilt accrued over ages. He loved us and forgave us to the end. He loves us still, forgives us still, and is ever making petition on our behalf. In him, we are secure as the adopted children of God.
In the midst of life we are in death. But we may say with equal confidence that in the midst of death we are in life forevermore because we are in Jesus Christ. “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Moment by moment, the kingdom of heaven is being established on earth in the hearts the elect. The kingdom of God is within you. And in the final moment, whenever it may be, a cry will go out: “Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him” (Rev. 1:7).
Jesus Christ is the victorious king. Press on with hope and confidence.
Look It Up
Read Ephesians 1:20-23.
Think About It
God raised him and set him in heaven.