This Sunday marks the final week of the Christian Calendar. The following week, November 27, will begin the season of Advent, a wonderful four weeks of hope, longing, and expectancy observed in preparation for the Christmas season.
But before we get to Advent, though, we will celebrate Christ the King Sunday and take a look at Jesus as the King who brings us real and lasting peace to the world.
I’m struck by the nature of kings throughout history and how they maintain their rule. Do they use brute force? Do they win the hearts and minds of their subjects? Do they appeal to divine right? Jesus, it seems, has a very specific means by which he rules and brings peace to his obedient subjects.
St. Paul says of Christ, “in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Col 1:19-20). Jesus did not use force or savvy arguments to bring about peace. Nor did he wage a war with great casualties to liberate the nation of Israel from its then present-day reality of a Roman occupation. Instead, he offered himself, he emptied himself. He who was “the fullness of God” gave himself “making peace by the blood of his cross.” St. Paul says elsewhere that in the cross, this instrument of peace through which our King triumphs, Jesus who "knew no sin, became sin for us, that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:20). The cross is the instrument of peace and watershed moment of all history where God’s goodness and grace and blessing flow to us in Christ. “He himself is our peace” (Eph 2:14).
To be sure, the world around us is marked by many things that are not peace. But this peace that we taste now and will be ours in Christ in a full and final way in his return is a promise from God, and we must trust him. We must, as Chris reminded Sunday night, hope for that peace.
Join us Sunday as we explore Christ the King and the peace he brings as we, his subjects and members of his body, eagerly await his return.