We don’t live in a society that is ruled by a king or queen. General George Washington was called “Your Excellency,” a form of address still appropriate and common when the President travels abroad, and even for some state governors. The title “Your Excellency” is derived from monarchies or autocracies where there is only one person in charge of everything. Other similar titles throughout history include Emperor, His or Her Majesty, Caesar, Czar (a Slavic form of Caesar), and Emir. So while other countries, many of which have monarchs of one sort or another, still refer to our president as His Excellency, we as a nation do not. However, we as Christians do have a king.
King of Kings
Listen to Handel’s famous “Hallelujah Chorus” from Messiah, and you will hear repeatedly the titles “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” sung about Jesus. What does that mean? It means that even people whose lives depended on obeying the rule of law under a political king considered Jesus to be the King over all earthly kings. In other words, Jesus’ laws and teachings are meant to be followed above those of worldly rulers. To be honest, that contrast remains at the heart of some of today’s ongoing political battles. People who believe differently about Jesus’ teachings and the Scriptures also tend to have different political priorities. Typically, people are not coming from a place of disregard but of faith, and that is why it is so personal.
Worshiping and Following
This Sunday is called Christ the King Sunday on our liturgical calendars. It is the last Sunday of the Christian calendar. Most churches use white paraments (the cloths on the altar and pulpit), just as we do on Easter or Transfiguration Sunday, which are other occasions we celebrate the divinity and majesty of Christ. This is a day to focus on Christ’s godliness and holiness while ruling beside God the Creator in heaven before we focus again on his human infancy during Advent. If Jesus were only fully human, he still would have been a great teacher and respected leader. But what makes him truly worthy of worship and obedience is that he was and is both fully human and fully divine. He is Christ the King!