Reflections on Christ the King

The Sunday before Thanksgiving is the last Sunday of the Church Year, also called Christ the King Sunday. One of the Scriptures for this Sunday is from the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Colossians:

13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:13-20 ESV).

This passage is like a wide angle view, in which the camera takes in the widest possible view, to see the whole picture, that Christ is King of ALL. All things.

This is Christology of the highest order.

He is the image (the word is icon) of the invisible God. He makes the invisible visible. As Jesus once told Philip, “whoever has seen Me, has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

This is what it means when Martin Luther wrote in his hymn:
With might of ours can naught be done,
Soon were our loss effected,
But for us fights the Valiant One,
Whom God Himself elected,
Ask ye who is this,
Jesus Christ it is, of Sabbaoth Lord,
and there’s none other God.
He holds the field forever. (LSB 656 st. 2)

“There’s none other God!” You will find God in no other place, but here – in the crucified Christ, also raised from the dead. Jesus Christ makes God visible. And there is no other.

He is the first born of creation. He is the one who is first, before all creation. So, as John says, “All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3).

In Him all things hold together – literally, all things stand with Him. Without Him nothing can continue to exist.

Scientists exploring the nature of the universe tell us now that they think 89% of the universe is so called “dark matter.” Without this “dark matter,” present theories don’t work, and everything flies apart at a fundamental level. However this theory works out (whether we have understood it or not), in Christ we have the real reason all things hold together. He takes care of it!

He is the Head of His body, the Church, giving life and direction to all who believe.

He is the first born from the dead. There is a whole crowd of people who are going to rise from the dead at the last day, and Christ is there, at the head of the pack. He’s the One who has already done it, and the One who will bring us all with Him.

All this so that in all things He might be pre-eminent. This is the motto of one of our Concordia Universities, Concordia, Ann Arbor (now a campus of Concordia Wisconsin): that in all things Christ might be pre-eminent, might have first place. Not that WE put Him in first place, but that we recognize He IS in first place.

No one can rival Him. No one else has gone across the great divide called death, and come back.

“For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Colossians 1:19). Everything it takes to be God is right there, in Jesus, who is fully human and fully God. He reconciles to Himself all things, making peace by the blood of His cross.

But this whole wonderful picture, this high Christology, all means nothing – except that He does it ALL for me, for YOU.

That by all Jesus has done, the FATHER has rescued us from the dominion – the authority – of darkness, and transferred us into the kingdom, brought us under the rule, of His beloved Son.

Christ is King of all, but the important thing is that He is MY King, YOUR King. That WE are under HIS rule. That HE forgives our sins. That in HIM we have peace, and we are reconciled to the Father.

Right here, right now – YES!

As the Catechism says: “All so that I may be His own, and live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness, even as He is risen from the dead and lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.” (LSB 322)

Under His rule, we go forward to serve Him!

+ Herb Mueller