Christ the King
A response to this image on Anthony Fisher’s Facebook said, “I don’t like that image of Jesus the King, he said he wasn’t king himself.” That is a fair comment because the image of the king in ordinary usage suggests power and glory. But in the biblical tradition a king is meant to be a shepherd to his people, a true shepherd who cares for his sheep. An ideal king is always at the service of his subjects. Accordingly, Jesus is king. Jesus, our king, rules paradoxically by loving service, humility and the gift of himself. Thus, the power and glory of Jesus the King is unparalleled.
The judgment scene in Matthew 25:31-46 is a guide to understand what is expected of the disciples of Jesus the King who is at the service of humanity. Interestingly enough the narrative about the Last Judgement does not speak about wrong doings and the punishments for them. It speaks about the failure of the disciples to do good and its consequences. That means avoiding sin does not make the disciple right with God. Discipleship is more than that. Being a Christian disciple is a positive choice about how we live and relate to others. That means living a good Christian life is not me-centred but other centred.
It is the ability to see Christ in others that makes a good disciple. What we do to help others, especially the vulnerable, with our love and care is key to Christian discipleship. After the pattern of Jesus the King, a subject of his Kingdom will be concerned about the dignity of all human beings. This will challenge the disciples to go beyond their comfort zones. In an affluent society like Australia, it is not much of a challenge to be concerned about the hardship of poor people. But there are other, unsuspected vulnerable ones, whose life and dignity depends perhaps on you.
If your comfort or lack of it is the reason for family disputes and breakup of marriages, as a disciple of Christ you may have to think again. Children of broken families are vulnerable and in need of parental love, care, and concern. If only you see Christ in them, you will be prepared to sacrifice your own comfort zone to be children-centred in your conflict resolution. As an enlightened disciple you see Christ in the vulnerability of a baby in the womb. And Christ the King will be saying at the Last Judgement, ‘When you protected the vulnerable children and babies, you have done so for me. Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world.’ Our King is at our service; therefore, let us be mindful of those who are subject to our love, care, and concern.