“He will rule as King of Kings…” The Living Christ
What exactly does this mean? Why is Christ going to be a King? Why do I cringe and shrivel a bit at the idea of being subject to a King, even Christ? Why does the idea of Christ as a King feel counter-productive to me? Even wrong in some sense?
I’ve written before (quite some time ago, actually) about how I primarily think of Jesus as my snarky friend. That’s still my preferred way to think of him. I think. Savior and Healer (as well as The Good Shepherd) are a few others that I appreciate. Some aspects of the “King of Kings” title appeal to me, but I am resistant to the idea of total kingship. Maybe it’s the American in me that holds onto and believes strongly in democracy (I mean, all my life I’ve heard about how great we are for waging war to be free from the reign of a King, even if he promised to send a fully armed battalion to remind us of his love).
Perhaps I’m just too prideful. I don’t like the idea of being totally subject to anyone (even if that person is Jesus). Like, I’m fine with that in theory, but some part of me resists it in practice. I mean, talking about giving up my will to God I’m on board with, but suddenly when we start talking about Christ as King, I start to feel a bit defensive and uneasy.
What sort of King would Christ be? Especially if we become gods and goddesses. Would we be Kings and Queens as well? Equal with Christ? Or is that what it means by “King of Kings”?
Like, King Arthur seems like a good example (you know, the idealized, white-washed version with the Round Table that treated his subjects like equals, and not really like subjects). Or Aragorn. Who wouldn’t want to follow King Viggo? Also, that scene at the end (well one of the many “ends”…) of The Return of the King, where the hobbits bow at his coronation and Aragorn teary-eyed tells them, “My friends, you bow to no one.” And then they stand and tears stream down your face and you sniffle and pretend you just got some popcorn kernels in your eye…
I want that. I want to meet Christ and recognize his goodness and love, only for him to raise me up and talk to me as a friend. An equal. Not that I think I’m as good as Jesus or anything. I just want that approval.
I love Paul’s statement to Timothy:
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” 2 Timothy 4.7
I hope to be able to say those words with my dying breath. (I mean, how epic would that be? What great last words…or maybe something about undying love for those around me, whoever that may be. Or perhaps some crazy mysterious phrase that leads the hearer on a wild ride searching for some hidden treasure or something.) But seriously. I love that idea. I can work in the idea of loyalty to a King into that phrase. Particularly fighting a good fight seems in line with being in the service of a King.
I guess, I just don’t really see why a King is good. Like, sure, having a solid dude able to lead and have unlimited power seems nice, but if there’s a whole group of wise, moral, God-loving people, why give all that power just to one man? Why not spread it around? Wouldn’t that be good for everyone?
Is the idea of “King” just left-over from cultural norms in ages long ago? Or am I faulty in thinking that we’ve moved on to better systems of government? Perhaps we’ll just have a theocratic, democratic monarchy. You know, where the King is like a figurehead? Like the Queen of England. I mean, if we’re just trying to keep the world close enough to together until Jesus shows up to take the wheel, and then we all get to stop thinking and just listen to whatever the King commands…why bother exercising our agency and work on learning how to think and do our own thing? It seems like life would be set up quite a bit differently if we were only meant to learn how to follow and not be leaders in our own right.
Perhaps the idea of Christ coming to reign and be Our King is metaphorical. I mean, he could literally be King, but the more important suggestion is that we (I) will have chosen to be loyal to Christ, to his crown (of thorns) and will do whatever is necessary for him.
I like that. Maybe that’s the same thing for some people, but it seems different to me. Not that I’m going to be some peasant lecturing Christ on the need for governments to gain legitimacy from a mandate of the masses and not a farcical aquatic ceremony, but that I will be a Knight at Christ’s Round Table. Clad in the armor of God. With my lightsaber. (Sword of the Spirit; all truth is light, all light is spirit.)
Now, that’s a King(dom) worth fighting for…