What I’m Thinking: Monarchy

How odd to choose a story from Jesus’ crucifixion to celebrate the Reign of Christ – but Jesus didn’t think about power in the same way as most people.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the gospel text for Reign of Christ Sunday, found in the 23rd chapter of Luke (Luke 23:33-43). Now, on a day whose theme is monarchy, rulership, power, Luke 23 is a very odd chapter to choose. It is the chapter in which Luke describes the crucifixion of Jesus.

The particular part of the lectionary text for this Sunday describes Jesus’ brief conversation with the two men between whom he was crucified. As others were taunting him, saying, “Hail the King of the Jews,” one of those other crucified men said, “If you are the Messiah, save yourself and us.” The other rebuked his fellow, saying that they were receiving what was due to them for their deeds, but that Jesus had done nothing wrong. And then comes the “moment of monarchy,” if you will: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus replied, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

The whole point of a Sunday dedicated to the monarchy of Christ, to the power of Christ, to the rulership of Christ, is, I think, to demonstrate how Jesus understood that role, that power, and how different it was than the ways that others of his time and many, most, nearly all of our time would understand it. To that one crucified man, the role of Messiah meant release, meant rebellion, meant overcoming the forces that had placed him on a cross. To the other, however, Messiahship, rulership, power extended beyond the confines of the world that he could see. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom,” is a profound statement of imaginative faith spoken by somebody in the most desperate situation.

Can we, can we follow the lead of that crucified man and imagine something beyond the wealth and the power and the comfort and the security and all the normal things of life that we strive to obtain, frequently at a cost to our souls? Can we say, “Jesus, remember me when you come into the kingdom that I cannot get see, that I do not fully understand?” Can we ask that of Jesus and listen with assurance to hear the words: “Yes, you will be with me in paradise.”

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Send me an e-mail or leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , , | Posted on November 14, 2022

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