The book of Revelation declares that Christ is the “King of kings and the Lord of lords.” Jesus is not just one more king in a long line of kings.
He is not a king who will be replaced by another king sooner or later. He is the eternal king destined to rule over all creation.
The Archangel Gabriel prophesied this to the Virgin Mary. He said that her son “would rule over the house of Jacob and that his kingdom would have no end.”
In First Corinthians, St Paul says that “Christ must be king.” Others will come and go. Christ will remain. Others reign for a few years and die. Christ died and rose from the dead in order to establish a kingdom that will last forever.
As important as it is to establish earthly rule, whether by means of a hereditary monarchy or constitutional democracy, Christians ought never to forget, as the letter to the Hebrews reminds us, that “Jesus Christ is the same today as he was yesterday and as he will be forever.
There is no eternal city for us in this life but we look for one in the life to come.”
Every earthly dominion—every empire with its colonies, every democracy with its Parliament—suffers from one inescapable defect. Our leaders are tempted to promise us that they have the power to give us everything we need in order to be happy.
In such moments of excessive optimism, we ought to remember that only God can send rain. Only God can make the sun shine. Only God can give us the food we need. Or was Jesus exaggerating when he told us to ask Our Father in heaven to “give us this day our daily bread”?
Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you a king?” Christ answered: “Yes, I am a king. This is why I was born.” But Jesus also made it clear that his kingdom was not of this world. Pilate had no interest in such a kingdom, and he mocked the idea that truth had anything to do with ruling a nation—an attitude unfortunately still common among some politicians.
Sceptical as he was, Pilate thought of himself as a just man. He said to the crowds: “I find this man guilty of no crime deserving death.” Even so, the Roman governor ended up condemning to death a man that he knew was innocent.
One of the saints asked: “Some people try to build peace in the world without putting the love of God into their own hearts. How could they possibly achieve peace that way?” In these troubled times, this is a good reminder. Our leaders, and we ourselves, must turn back to God and seek first his kingdom if we want peace.