‘Thy Kingdom come’ has always been our prayer. Kingdom needs a king and when we say of the Lord’s kingdom, it is one where Jesus Christ reigns. We know that we will get perfect peace, comfort, security, and joy in a kingdom established under the reign of the Lord only. The Kingdom of heaven is the Kingdom of Christ. We heard about the kingship of Jesus from the lips of Pontius Pilate. And it was serious enough to award him a most cruel death on cross.
His title as king of Jews accompanied him through his final hours on this earth. It was beneath the shadow of what Pilate wrote for him – Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum – that Jesus uttered his last words; “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Though the Jews tried their best to get the inscription altered to reflect their version about the kingship of Jesus, Pilate stood his ground. Because it was true; Jesus was king.
But we know that Jesus is the king of all human beings, Jews and gentiles alike. When his birth was announced to the shepherds, the angel confirmed this universal role for which Jesus came to this world. ‘I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people; to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord’ (Lk 2:10-11). We remember this great historical event at Christmas. And in Easter, we remember the passion, crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus that brought salvation to each one of us. To commemorate the pouring down of the Holy Spirit upon us, so as to be with us till the end of times, we celebrate the feast of Pentecost.
Yet we do not find the kingship of Jesus Christ manifesting itself in perfection. In spite of his triumph over all the rulers and authorities (Col 2:15), we know that the kingdom of Christ is still in a stage of progression. Of this the Church teaches; ‘Though already present in his Church, Christ’s reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled “with power and great glory’ by the King’s return to the earth. This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ’s Passover’ ( CCC 671).
We are looking forward to the day when the kingship of Christ is revealed in its perfection. As we know it is going to happen at his glorious second coming at the end of times. As such we should celebrate the feast of Christ the King not to commemorate his first coming but in anticipation of his second coming, when God the Father will ‘make his enemies his footstool’ (Ps 110:1). In that sense the feast of the Reign of Christ is the greatest occasion for Christians to celebrate.
His rule happens when the last enemy to be destroyed’ (1 Cor 15:26) is defeated for good. Then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory’ (1 Cor. 15:54). Where Christ reigns, there is no place for any other authorities. The Apostle says: ‘Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power’ (1 Cor 15:24). This is the interpretation for us to grasp it with our limited human understanding. The truth is that the kingship of Jesus transcends time and space, the only dimensions we know. Paul says; ‘For in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers- all things have been created through him and for him’ (Col 1:16). But we mortals see only a part of Jesus’ personality. It is the period of his earthly life, when he ‘did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself taking the form of a slave and born in human likeness’ (Phil 2:7). The period before his birth is obscured from our eyes. As for the period after his ascension, we know it partially in Spirit and look forward to knowing it fully in future.
If we know the greatness of our Lord’s name, we will get an idea about the subtle perfection and exalted nature of his kingship. If ‘at the name of Jesus, every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth’ (Phil 2:10), then think about the greatness of that kingdom where the owner of this exalted name reigns. Think how blessed are we who are called to be the subjects of this eternal kingdom. Also think how unfortunate are those who, though invited, refuse it!
Only three disciples got the rare opportunity to witness Jesus in glory. At the sight of the king of glory clothed in dazzling white, Peter says; “Lord, it is good for us to be here” (Mt 17:4). The memories of what he saw on the mountain did not fade from his mind even after decades, though he could thereafter, see the Risen Lord from close quarters for many days. He writes:‘…. We were with him on the holy mountain’ (2 Peter 1:18). Peter exhorts us to lead a life of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God’ ( 2 Pet 3:12). Any person who, like Peter, got a glimpse of the glory of Christ, will definitely pray for hastening the day of the Lord.
Of that kingdom and life in it the prophet says; ‘ And the Lord will become king over all the earth; on that day the Lord will be one and his name one’ (Zech 14:9). We are the people who are being prepared for that day, and this is the time for us to prepare. ‘Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed( which is idolatry)…….. get rid of all such things – anger, wrath,malice, slander, and abusive language …….’ ( Col 3:5-8).
Every empire that the world has witnessed had its own limitations. But the empire of Jesus knows no limits. Because the Father ‘ has given him authority over all people’ (Jn 17:2). The problem is that we do not recognize this all-encompassing authority of Jesus. It is the tragedy of those who give themselves for the enchantment of the ‘ruler of this world’ (Jn 14:30). To aggravate things, we are fast entering a period when the ‘lawless one, the one destined for destruction’ ( 2 Thes 2:3) will declare that he is in command of everything here on earth (Rev 13:7). But his reign, like any other earthly kingdom in the past, will be limited in time. On the other hand, we the believers are waiting for the establishment of the eternal kingdom of Jesus Christ. And we look forward to the citizenship of a kingdom which has no parallel in history.
So let us pray with a pure conscience and sure hope: Thy kingdom come. And forget not to keep the white robe of holiness and grace when the king comes to meet his guests. Let us pray; Maranatha, Come Lord.