This morning we meet a paradox, or tension, or even a contradiction. On this Reign of Christ the King Sunday we sing the great triumphal hymns proclaiming that “Jesus Shall Reign!” before we “Crown Him With Many Crowns!” Music so strong and confident that we are swept up in the glorious majesty of the divine.
But then, a few minutes later, we find Jesus dying between two thieves. Naked. Humiliated. Tortured. Terrified.
The sign above his head proclaiming him as king was meant to mock him, but it was really an announcement for those who had eyes to see. If you were looking for a king who would crush his enemies, then you might want to divert your eyes. This king forgives his enemies. And he doesn’t raise a finger to protect himself against those who would kill him.
It looks like we have two kings competing for our attention and adoration. Two contrasting visions of who we say God is. Two wildly divergent understandings of how we believe Jesus brings us salvation.
We have a king who is high above the heavens ruling over the universe with a strong arm. And we have a king whose throne is a cross, and whose crown was made of thorns.
This contrast is nothing new. This is as old as the gospels themselves. Just listen to the...(whole thing here)