The feast of Christ the King recognizes the triumph of Jesus, the one who testified to the truth with his words and with his life. “When it comes to ultimate truth, the most appropriate posture is modesty, silence, reverence, not propounding, shouting, condemning.” What was Jesus’ posture before Pilate when asked to testify about himself? His was not the way of the super-hero, responding to physical force with more physical force. His reign is not of this world. But that is not to say he is powerless. We need to train ourselves to comprehend the source of his power—which is not for domination of others but for love and service. participating in the sacred mysteries of Jesus’ living, dying, and rising trains our eyes to see his kingdom and to live there ourselves.
Jesus doesn’t argue the charges brought against him. He simply and neatly disputes the claims to authority of those around him. Defining power as an attribute of God, and his kingdom as beyond the petty territories of earthly rulers, Jesus relieves Pilate of his authority as easily as a parent takes a toy from a child’s grasp. He exposes the lie of worldly power, and Pilate, a shrewd man on a shaky chair, recognizes it. At the close of each church year we celebrate the title “Christ the King” to testify that we know at least as much as the procurator of Jerusalem once did. With this title we acknowledge that worldly authority must cast its golden crowns around the glassy sea, at the feet of divine sovereignty. You and I exert much power in this world. But we are accountable for how we use it to the One who is its source and summit.