“The Proud King” was originally a story in the poem of William Morris before it got many versions. It talks about a wealthy and influential king who became arrogant and proud. He even imprisoned the local priest who preached that God could make a rich man poor and a poor man rich. One day as he was indulging in his riches, he said to himself, “I am the richest and wealthiest king in the entire world; what prevents me from being god?”
The next day, he asked his servants to prepare the King’s escort for a hunting activity in the woods. While they were hunting, the King decided to ride to the nearby stream to cool off. As he was swimming, an angel with his resemblance appeared, and taking up his royal garments, the angel left with his horse and joined his servants, and they all left for the palace. Meanwhile, the servants noticed that their King suddenly became calm and humble.
When the proud King was done swimming, he could not find his clothes nor his horse; he was naked and alone in the woods. Calling out to his servants, he could not hear anyone because they all left with the angel who took up his appearance and other things he had.
Frustrated, the proud King decided to stop by the house of one of his knights. The knight could not recognize him and even chased him away into the cold night for impersonating the King, who stopped by his house earlier.
The next day, the proud King shows up in the palace, barely clad. Unfortunately, the palace guards could not recognize him nor allow him to enter the palace. Suddenly, the angel having his appearance showed up at the palace gate with the queen. The proud King called out to the queen, but she thought he was a mad man and asked the guards to throw him out, and they did.
Beaten and defeated, the proud King goes to a private place to ask God for forgiveness. He was still crying when he heard a voice that asked him to look up. Raising his eyes, he could see his royal garments and the horse. He dressed up and riding to the palace, he gets a royal welcome. From that moment, he learned to be humble and respectful to God.
Today, the Church celebrates our Lord Jesus Christ, the universal King. The feast became urgent at the dawn of the twentieth century through the encyclical of Pope Pius XI, Quas Primas. The twentieth century brought the geometric rise and spreading of secularism, leadership struggles, two world wars, and even the Spanish Flu Pandemic that affected a third of the global population and claimed about fifty to a hundred million lives.
Standing today in the twenty-first century, one could still see the relevance of proclaiming Jesus Christ as the Universal King. We are living in an age of growing inattention to God. Materialism is a ruling king; politics has become a notorious kingdom with malicious kings everywhere. Modern technology is currently ruling the lives of many people. At this point, each one of us needs to answer the question, “who is your king?”
The Kingship of Jesus Christ
The Kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ is typically unusual, unearthly, and, therefore, unacceptable to those who conform to this world’s patterns. Earthly Kings stay in palaces, and their subjects provide for them and protect them even with their lives. But our Lord Jesus Christ the Shepherd-King who provides for the sheep. He knows each one by its name and lays down his life for them (John 10:11-18). Every King exists to serve and not to be served (Matt. 20:28).
Most earthly kings are arrogant and prideful like the proud King in our story. But Jesus Christ, our Lord, and King, did not count on his equality with God but humbled himself, taking the form of a servant (Phil 2:6-8). Note that anyone in any authority position that is not humble would never get a divine endorsement (James 4:6).
Unlike the Kings of this world, our Lord Jesus Christ is:
- The compassionate King (Luke 7:13), who cries with us (John 11:35)
- The exemplary King who asked us to learn from him (Matt. 11:29)
- The liberating King who delivered us from darkness (Col. 1:13)
- Saving King who died so that we can have life to the full (John 10:10b)
- The enduring King who will be with us to the end of time (Matt. 28:20)
What can we do with all the benefits we have in Jesus Christ the Universal King? There would be the need for each one of us to enthrone our Lord in his or her life. Who is your King? It is easy to say that Jesus Christ is the King of your life and another thing to allow him to reign in your life. The same way we have bibles, but we do not read them, and we have different prayers, but we do not say them.
Let us strive to enthrone the Lord in our lives and let Him reign in everything we do. May Jesus Christ reign in our souls. May the Lord reign in our homes. May He reign in our families. May Jesus reign in our communities. May Jesus reign in all the nations of the world forever and ever. Amen