Monday, November 19, 2012

John 18:33-37


Pentecost Last - Year B


A most intriguing passage for a Sunday traditionally called Christ the King. This is a series of direct questions with slippery responses.

“Are you King of the Jews?” [In a context of Roman occupation, what would any response to this question mean?]

“Who’s asking?”, asks Jesus. This sends us on our first trip. The question is no longer that of hierarchy, but behavior - “What have you done?”

And Jesus spins around again. “My kingdom is not from this world.” So does this respond to the first question about kingship or is it a one-hand clapping statement? Kings are very much of this world. They can’t be king without the world allowing it. What is this other world?

Pilate took the bait with a presumption that this was a response to his first question. “So...you are a king!”

“You keep harping on power when I’m talking about an authenticity or truth beyond political or religious privilege,” clarifies Jesus.

Conveniently the lection cuts Pilates retort of “What is truth?” as he spins to leave the room. So Pilate doesn’t have to hear Jesus mutter, “The truth is you are Governor of Nothing and never will be the King you desire to be.”

Whether you call it Christ the King Sunday or the Reign of Christ, Jesus says you got it wrong and the church won’t be a source of healing until it puts such arrogance away. This is especially the case when the following week we claim the failure of kingdom talk with the beginning of a needed Advent or start on a different journey than the crazy-making one of repeating doctrines as if they were factual.

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