Preparing for Christ the King

“I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strays, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.”
Ezekiel 34:15-16

This Sunday we will celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. I thought it might be helpful to reflect on one or two things about this feast day in preparation for Sunday.

It was originally instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 when the world was going in a very dark and dangerous direction. Europe was growing ever more secular, and dictatorships were becoming quite prevalent. I’ve always wondered if the pope read the books of Samuel and Kings and came up with the idea of Christ the King Sunday. The foreboding clouds that were forming in the late 1920s must have felt a little bit like the ancient people of Israel calling for a king who would make them like all the other nations.

Ezekiel 34 tells us what the one true king is like. Even though the people are scattered and lost, physically and spiritually, God says, “I myself will search for my sheep … I will rescue them … I will feed them … I will save my flock … and I will judge … I, the Lord, have spoken.”

He is a king who rescues, cares for his flock and feeds them. He doesn’t have a representative do it for Him — He takes matters into His own hands and does it Himself; that is the kind of king we have. That’s the only true king we were to ever have.

I hope in your mind right now, when you hear the qualities of the true king, you are picturing Jesus. He identifies himself in this way when he tells his disciples, “I am the Good Shepherd.” He embodies all the qualities that we read about in Ezekiel: He feeds his people with physical and spiritual food, He searches for the lost, and He has come to our rescue.

No other monarch or world leader can even compare to coming close to this.

If this is how our king is — giving, caring, and saving — what does that mean for us? How shall we live as children and heirs of this kind of king?

The simple, yet-not-so-easy answer is to be like our king. It should be our hope and prayer that we can be as generous and caring and loving as Him — that it doesn’t have to be forced, but that it comes naturally, that it’s deep in our bones to be like Him and live like Him.

By ourselves this is impossible, but our king has given us a gift, His very Spirit, and with His grace we have the wonderful opportunity to share the great gifts of this kingdom with a world that is desperately searching for the one true king. 
The Rev. Wesley Arning
Associate for Young Adult and Small Group Ministry
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