Long time ago, as a young seminarian, I was posted on apostolic work (missionary internship) to a certain town in the south-eastern part of Nigeria, West Africa. My apostolic work that year was really eventful and I went home wiser. The town in question was (and is still) a big one being the home of some rich and successful men and women.
I reported at the parish house quite earlier than the other seminarians largely because I left home earlier considering the distance from my home. The parish priest welcomed me and asked me to hold on for the others to come. After some hours, the others arrived as well as some parishioners who had been invited to pick us to their respective out-stations. I happened to be the most senior and the parish priest assigned me to the out-station that is directly under the parish so that I could as well be of assistance to him. After the usual instructions from the priest we were asked to join those who came to pick us.
While the others were going, I had to still hold on. I later observed that two different parties came to pick me. Each came with two cars but I could not go because there was a contention. One party claimed to have arrived earlier than the other and the other party claimed that at the last meeting which the first party did not attend, there was an agreement that the second party should be the host family to the seminarian. The parties argued and the exchange of words took a fierce and personal dimension.
The priest later intervened and told them that none of them could take the seminarian given the situation; he added that I would be staying with him in the parish house. They all felt better about it (no-victor-no-vanquished situation) and left. When they had gone the priest told me that the two men at the head of the argument were contesting for the “Igwe” (Kingship) of the town since the incumbent king died. This piece of information helped me throughout my stay.
Within the time I was there, each party tried to get close to the parish priest and to tell him the bad side of the other party. He just listened. Actually the town was torn apart by these two contenders to the throne. It was so bad that in the church, one could notice that members of each faction sat on one side while the other faction sat on another side. The kingship tussle became more deadly and ruthless the time the council of elders gathered to decide who would be enthroned. The elders were still trying to sort things out on one occasion when violence broke out between the two parties. There were gunshots and general malaise to the extent that some people sustained various degrees of injuries as they tried to escape from various directions.
The next morning one of the contenders died in his sleep! Two day after the surviving contender was shot by unknown gunmen outside the town. With the deaths, nobody spoke about ascending the throne for a very long time. Thereafter, the government of the State intervened and had someone appointed to ascend to the throne as the Igwe (king).
The history of the world is actually replete with the rising and falling of kings and kingdoms; the rising and falling of empires and emperors. The entire gamut of world history presents us with tales of enthronements and dethronements of individuals and groups with their transient powers. We are conversant with the Pharaohs of Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon during the exilic experience of Daniel’s time. Down the path of history we know of Alexander the Great whose reign was felt around the known world of his time, we know of Alfred the Great, Darius the Great, Charlemange, Louis xiv and others. Many empires rose and fell: Roman Empire, Spanish Empire, and the Empires of France and Britain.
In modern history we know of Haile Selassie (the 225th and last emperor of Ethiopia), Adolf Hitler (the Nazi machinery of the holocaust), Idi Amin (the ruthless self-acclaimed field Marshal and president for life of Uganda). In contemporary history we know of the Saddam Husseins, the Mubaracks. The last from this era was Mommah Gaddaffi who organized his crowning as king of kings of Africa. One common denominator is that all these kingdoms and their kings crumbled at some historic points.
Our celebration today is focused of Jesus Christ the universal king. We are today drawn to Jesus Christ the King who reigns for eternity. That our lord Jesus Christ is King is not a figment of imagination or mere wishful thinking; testimonies abound in the scriptures:
Psalm 24:10 . Tells us that he is the king of glory.
Psalm 47:10: Calls him the one who reigns over all the nations.
Isaiah 9:6-7. Calls him our ruler, the Wonder Counselor, Mighty Father, Prince of Peace whose kingdom will have no end!
Zecharia 9:9. Calls him our King that rides humbly, triumphantly and victoriously on a donkey.
Jeremiah 23:5-6: The prophet acknowledged him as the righteous branch from David and the king that will reign and prosper.
Zecharia 14: 9. Calls him the King of all the earth.
Matthew 2:2 . Calls him the King of the Jews.
Matthew 28:18: Says that all power in heaven and on earth belongs to him.
Luke 1: 33 : Says that his kingdom will have no end.
Luke 23:38. His executioners confirmed him as the King of the Jews.
John 1: 49. Calls him the King of Israel.
Rev.17:14. Calls him Lord of Lords King of Kings.
Exodus 15:11 : Says that there is no one like unto Him among the gods; glorious in holiness, fearful in praises doing wonders!
The King we are acknowledging and worshipping today is very much unlike the earthly kings. His Kingdom is also very much unlike the Kingdoms of the earth.
- Earthly Kings slept on costly beds and sat of expensive chairs, but Jesus our Lord and King had nowhere to lay his head (Luke 9:58) and the cross was his throne (Matt. 27:35).
- People serve and die for earthly kings, but Jesus Christ the King came not to be served, but to serve and gave his life as a ransom (Mark 10:45).
- Earthly kings obtain resources from their subjects but Jesus our King fed the people with bread and fish and when further to give them his body and blood to sustain them in their journey to eternity.(Jn.6:55)
- Earthly Kings fight and destroy their enemies but Jesus our King forgave his executioners establishing that they didn’t know what they were doing? (Luke 23:34).
Do you believe?
- He is king of the Jews
- He is the king of Israel
- He is the King of the universe
- He is the king of the heaven and the earth
- He is the king of righteousness
- He is the king of ages
- He is the king of glory
- He is the king of kings
- He is enduringly strong
- He is entirely sincere
- He is eternally steadfast
- He is immortally graceful
- He is imperially powerful
- He is impartially merciful
- He is indescribable
- He is incomprehensible
- He is invincible
- He is irresistible
- He is impregnable
- He is irreducible
- He is intractable
- He is irreprehensible
- He is the key to knowledge
- He is the wellspring of wisdom
- He is the doorway of deliverance
- He is the pathway of peace
- He is the roadway of righteousness
- He is the highway of holiness
- He is the gateway of glory
- He is the greatest phenomenon that ever passed the horizon of this world.
- He is the centrepiece of civilization
- He is the loftiest idea in literature
- He is the highest personality in philosophy
- He is the fundamental doctrine of true theology
- He is the epicentre of authentic geology
- His life is matchless
- His goodness is limitless
- His mercy is everlasting
- His love never changes
- His word is enough
- His grace is sufficient
- His yoke is easy
- His burden is light
- You can’t live without him
- You can’t get him off your hand
- You can’t outlive him
- The Pharisees could not stand him
- The Sadducees could not stop him
- Pilate could not find any fault in him
- Herod could not kill him
- Death could not handle him
- Even the grave could not hold him.
In our world today, there are many kings and kingdoms springing up everywhere. In our contemporary human society money has constituted itself as a king as many run after it as if their lives came from it. The same is applicable to materialism, immorality and fashion. In the area of modern means of communication the story is more disheartening.
All over the world people give “101” attention to television, internet, mobile phones and indeed the social media to the detriment of the required attention to Jesus Christ the King. Often the only time most people remember that Jesus Christ is the most powerful King is when they go through some deplorable experiences. At such time they “order” Jesus Christ to intervene immediately and confront the situation. When the challenge is over they tend to drop him by the side until yet another time. That is why people merely call him a helper, provider, sustainer, rewarder etc. But he is beyond all these. He is our HELP, PROVISION, REWARD, SALVATION, SUSTENANCE etc.
Actually we cannot put a limit to what Jesus Christ our King can do for us and with us. If you read the encounter between Moses and God in Exodus (3:14ff) you will find out that when Moses asked God “who should I tell that sent me?” God said to him tell them that “I AM” sent you. This is actually an open withdrawal cheque which God left for us. God did not say I am the protector for instance so that all He owes us would be to protect and nothing more. But He said “I Am…….” And left the spaces for you to add whatever you desire from him. It is from this that we understand Jesus expanding into various areas like: “I am the way, I am the truth, I am the resurrection. I am the life, I am the good Shepherd” etc.
As we go out to proclaim Jesus Christ the King of kings and Lord of lords, let us remember that this proclamation must surpass mere verbalization. It must resonate with our lives. The little and useless kingdoms in our world would all pass away; they are incomparable with the eternal Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ which should be our utmost concern and focus!
Happy Christ the King!
One response to “CELEBRATING THE UNUSUAL KING: HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING. Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem PhD.”
Happy Sunday Padre. May Christ reign in your life.