Today we celebrate that God has raised Jesus to be King of all. As we read in this morning’s reading from the letter to the Ephesians:
“God raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet.”
So, this Jesus, whom God raised from the dead, is now King of all. Hence this feast day of Christ the King.
In this diocese we seek to live out our vocation to become Kingdom People, whose hallmarks are love, compassion, justice, and freedom. Jesus came to proclaim the Kingdom of God – “repent and believe the Good News, the Kingdom of God is at hand” – are his first words in St Mark’s gospel.
The Kingdom of God is where God’s reign is made manifest, and Jesus is the King of all. We long for the day when all peoples and nations will hail him as Lord and King, but in the meantime, we pray that we will be given grace to place him on the throne of our hearts, that he may reign in us as God has enabled him to reign over all things.
Jesus is asked a lot of questions in the New Testament, but he only answers three. One of which is when he is asked if he is a king. Jesus is a king, but his kingship is not of this world or as in this world. As we read in the second chapter of the letter to the Philippians, ‘Christ Jesus was in the form of God, but he did not cling to equality with God, he emptied himself and took the form of a servant and being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.’ Therefore, God has raised him to his right hand in glory.
In his life, Jesus showed that the kingship that he enjoys is one which is characterised by service. ‘You know that among the gentiles, their leaders lord it over them. It must not be so with you.’ Jesus explained on the last night of his earthly life, as we read in St John’s gospel, that he came not to be served, but to serve. He exemplified what he was here to do and the lordship of God by raising himself up from the table, taking a towel and washing the disciples’ feet.
Greatness in God’s eyes is to be shown in service. Kingly authority is to be shown in service. That’s why it was so encouraging at the coronation of King Charles to see this theme of service, of Godly service, running through the whole of the act of worship. I know that our King, Supreme Governor of the Church of England, sees his role, his life, very much in service. That is what Christian leadership and Christian life should be all about.
That’s why we read in this morning’s gospel of the way in which we are called to care for those in need, to reach out to them and give them our help and our sustenance.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. And he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.”
We will be judged according to how much we have been able to show the character, the image of Jesus in our lives. The extent to which we have been able to imitate our heavenly King, Jesus. So this morning, we pray for grace to serve and to be transformed into his image, who is the King of all.