I love to read about King David. Maybe it's because I grew up on a farm and could relate to David as a shepherd. I did chores daily, taking care of feeding chickens and pigs and calves. David, as a young shepherd, was anointed by the prophet Samuel. Through David's youth and early life he became a great warrior and was faithful to King Saul even though Saul became jealous and tried to kill David. David continued to be a great warrior king. In the end he was asked to be the king of both the northern and southern tribes of Israel. He accepted the responsibility of being king of Israel. David was a warrior king, successful in battle and leading the tribes of Israel. Unfortunately, like us, David had clay feet. He used his powerful roles to commit adultery with Bathsheba and ultimately murdered her husband Uriah. He needed to repent of his wickedness and did, calling on the mercy of God, which is perhaps reflected in Psalm 51.
Contrast this with Jesus, a Shepherd king, a Servant king, a Servant leader. When Jesus came, the Jewish people were still looking for a warrior king. They wanted to be unshackled from the oppression of the Roman empire. Fortunately, for all of us, Jesus did not come as that type of a king, at least in a worldly way.
The kingship of Jesus unfolded long before the Son of God was born into humanity. In Colossians today we hear of the Son begotten of the Father before all time and creation. Creation occurs through the Son. He has the kingly responsibility to "make us fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light. He delivered us from the power of darkness". We are called to the Kingdom of the beloved Son, who brings the mercy of the Father for us, fallen humanity.
There is a beauty in the many descriptive names of Jesus given in this letter to the Colossians: Creator of angelic powers, Head of the body, the Church; the Beginning; Firstborn of the dead; Preeminent in all things; Reconciler of all things; Peacemaker through the blood of his cross.
Yet the beauty of who Jesus was as Son of God was hidden from the unbelievers at the end of his public ministry. The people failed to believe or to listen to the Word of God made flesh. The King of the Jews was condemned to death after he told Pilate, "my kingship is not of this world; if it were of this world people would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews". The inscription over the cross was "This is the King of the Jews". One criminal taunts Jesus to save himself if he is the King. In the world's eyes Jesus was a failure and a fraud. In the eyes of the "good thief" he saw the goodness of Christ. Because of that faith, Jesus forgave him as he neared his very last breath with, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise". For the apostles and holy women there was great puzzlement and sadness at his death. Yet there was ecstatic joy at his resurrection when he came to claim his heavenly kingdom. The Servant King Jesus Christ is also the King of the Universe. So today and each time we pray the 'Our Father' ask for the coming of the Kingdom.
We are called to bring the Kingdom forward in our lives. Let us reflect on what type of kingdom Jesus, the Servant King, wants us to build 'on earth as it is in heaven'. The King of Mercy, the Warrior King who defeated sin and death is calling us to celebrate, to serve, to shepherd. King Jesus is opening his arms for all of us sinners to enter the eternal kingdom of mercy and peace today. Are we all in?
Yours in Christ,
Deacon Andy Kresha