We hear the stories all the time.
Someone needs a particular medical procedure. But it is only done in one place. And they have no way to connect. Then one day, they have a conversation with someone. They helped a stranger, they started a conversation. And that person says, “Let me call my cousin. The one who created the procedure.”
The person who seemed incidental was the person with the power to change everything.
Yesterday was the last Sunday of the church year. Next week is the first Sunday of Advent. Next Sunday, the church calendar starts the process of preparing for Christmas, of helping us cut through the chaos of the holidays that we dread and find the kind of anticipation for the coming of Jesus that we can look forward to.
Because Advent is about the coming of Jesus the first time and the second time, a few decades ago we began calling this Christ the King Sunday. It’s a day to reflect on Jesus as the king, as the ruler, as the leader.
In our attention to the other roles that Jesus has, the other ways we read about him and know him, this role of king is one we sometimes miss. We know about Jesus as the lamb of God who came to take the sin of the world. We talk about Jesus as healer, Jesus as footwasher, Jesus as street preacher, Jesus the Shepherd. Jesus the holder of babies. Jesus the peace-speaker, the peace-be-stiller.
We talk often about Jesus who talked about forgiving enemies, and then did. We think about Jesus listened to requests for healing and then did them. We contrast Jesus with what we think of as the Angry God. We hold up Jesus as the rebel, the disrupter of the tables in the temple, as the one who challenges the religious leaders and sides with the poor.
These are amazing things. But all these roles rest on a deeper authority. Jesus doesn’t do these things because he is against structures or power or deep rightness.
Jesus does these things because he is the king.