All throughout history, many people have misunderstood Jesus. To most, his life was an enigma, a mystery, a series of contradictions which make people understand him falsely. This has led into disagreement and disunity that wars have resulted then and even up to now. Some just consider him a prophet, without realizing he is more than a prophet; a messiah but not only a human messiah as he is both human and divine. He is king, but not how the world sees it. That is why Pilate was trying to fathom why Jesus was handed over to him. He seems to be really confused and Pilate’s dialogue with Jesus was respectful so to speak. Even our Lord’s apostles couldn’t quite get the mystery of his being. Some of his followers thought of raising him up as “king” in order to save Israel.
Jesus refers to a kingdom that does not belong to this world. In the earlier chapter of St. John’s Gospel, Jesus prayed for His disciples who are in the world but “do not belong to the world” (Jn. 17:14). Despite that, just like Jesus, they are sent into the world to preach the Good News for the salvation of souls. In the present, we are likewise given the same mission into the world, to be messengers of the Gospel.
There are two main definitions of king: one who is a male monarch or ruler, and one who is preeminent. The “king as ruler” concept when applied to Jesus potentially affects God’s gift of free will, because an element of necessary obedience is introduced into our spirituality. On the other hand, Jesus as “one who is preeminent” in our lives introduces a very radical concept. This preeminence grows when we nurture our relationship with Him.
Our Christian life requires us to know Jesus more and taking part in his redeeming mission. We should know the type of person He was then, that he came from God but is also human. We need to spend time in prayer and nourish our relationship with him into one that is loving and personal. This love allows us to take a peek into the mystery of His divinity. Yes Jesus came into the world, but the world did not know Him. The world prefers darkness and yet despite this, the light will not be defeated. Those who know the light, will know the truth. Those who know the truth will recognize Jesus as king and will discern this insight. While Jesus kingship is known among his followers, this was hidden from those outside of his circle. Only those gifted and chosen, those who have the eyes of faith are able to see this revelation. As his modern day disciples, we sometimes struggle with recognizing Jesus as king. At times we ignore his awesome power and we go on our own ways.
At the end of the liturgical year, today’s Solemnity of His Kingship invites us to see with the eyes of faith that Jesus, through his redeeming crucifixion and death, is truly the King and Savior of all. May this faith allow us to respond to the call to live like Him in service: one of truth, compassion and filled with love.