As the visions during the night continued, I saw one like a Son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven; when he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship; all peoples, nations, and languages serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.
Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father, to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming amid the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him. All the peoples of the earth will lament him. Yes. Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.”
Gospel Cycle Cycle B
Pilate said to Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?” Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.” So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
Last Sunday we considered the end of the world from the point of view of ourselves, the humans who live here in this world. Today we look at the same reality from the point of view of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. It is clear in today’s readings that Jesus is the King of our world, the meaning of our world and the one who will judge us all at the end of time. Everyone and everything in our world is created for Him.
If we look at our world, of course, many of us will say that it does not look redeemed, it does not look like a place of God’s presence, it does not look like any religion has ever helped it at all except to make it worse. On the other hand, those of us who believe must continue to follow our faith in Jesus Christ and strive to live as He did. This is never easy in any age of history.
Today the western world, as a whole, tends to reject any form of religion that has ever caused bloodshed or violence. That means the rejection of all religion just as it would mean the rejection of almost any movement in human history. Always that which is good can be used for bad purposes.
It is easy to look at the world without taking into account eternity, especially if one does not believe. We can judge the world solely by human standards. How different the world looks if we do believe that it is created by God, that God loves the world, that God has sent His only Son to redeem the world and that the Holy Spirit has been sent to bring us new life.
We who follow Christ accept this last view. We must strive to live, then, as He has taught us. We believe that there will be a final judgment. We believe that our faith is what saves us and that our faith should lead us to good actions. We believe that Christ is transforming our world, even now. We believe that the great and final judgment will be a judgment of love. Love is not weakness but it is a care for the very best good of each other person.
Perhaps because there was such a stress on judgment and on the likelihood of us going to hell, today there is a focus on God’s love for us. Many want to see God’s love for us as so strong that absolutely no one will go to hell. And perhaps that is the way that it is. Even so, we must want to follow our Lord Jesus because it is He who has come to save the world. It is He who brings us the truth and that truth will set us free.
Wanting to follow Jesus in freedom is very different from feeling that I must follow Jesus because of a fear of hell!
As we contemplate Jesus today as the great King, as the Judge, as the Goal of our life, let us place all our confidence in Him and approach His throne without fear. Let us trust that Jesus loves us and that His grace has given us freedom and joy in the service of God.