|Marc Chagall King David|
- 2 Samuel 23:1-7 and Psalm 132:1-12, (13-18) •
- Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 and Psalm 93 •
- Revelation 1:4b-8 •
- John 18:33-37
|Christ in Judgement c.1100|
But in fact, the difference is merely one of emphasis. It is David’s kingship that matters. His status in first century Judaism was like George Washington’s in American political culture – uniquely important, and in no way diminished, in either case, by any human failings they may have had. In the time of Jesus, Israel’s hopes, by and large, were still pinned on the thought that a new David would arise, and return the Jewish nation to its rightful place as a ‘light to lighten the Gentiles’. As history turned out, it was not to be. What Christians believe is that, against this background, God acted to reveal a quite different kind of kingship – ‘not of this world’ – as Jesus expressly says in the Gospel passage for this Sunday, a ‘kingship’ revealed, strangely, in a ‘crown of thorns’. The fundamental message runs counter to the hopes people pin on all political programs, and not just those of old fashioned royalists.
So, to celebrate the Reign of Christ properly, we must be sure to avoid all hints of triumphalism, any implied suggestion that ‘our man’ won out over his enemies in the end. Rather, we need, in a spirit of wondering humility, to find a way of accepting that, as Isaiah says, God’s ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts. And yet, it is His ways that will and should prevail. The incarnation of God in the journey of Jesus from manger to cross makes it possible for us to do that. Celebrating Christ as King is our acknowledgment of this fundamental truth.