Franco Zefirelli had the right title when he told the story of Jesus Christ. But Father Robert Barron gives us a picture of the Old Testament and New Testament that is riveting and stunning in bringing out the true greatness of the entire narrative of the Bible. His talk can be found here. Below is my take on what Father Barron says using so much of his direct words and some of my own small thought – I pray it will make you listen to Father Barron’s link which should leave you right on your knees in praise and adoration for the one God.
This week we celebrate the Kingship of Christ – Christ as King. The rich narrative of the Bible takes us through a history of bad kingships leaving Israel continually groaning for Yahweh to be King. Yet we will notice that God wants our participation in His reign and that He will not simply take over and thrust His Godness upon us. Thus, Jesus Christ as King comes at the end of a rich, intricate story told over generations and generations leading to the fulfillment and realization of God’s reign here on earth.
Beginning with Adam we have the first king set up in Eden. However, original sin causes the great fall, and Adam’s kingship is over. We can see in Chapters 4 and 5 of Genesis through familiar stories what bad kingship leads to murder, jealousy, hatred, rivalry, and, of course, self-absorption. God, however, does not give up on the world and begins to call a series of kings whose mission it is to form a people who can cultivate and expand Eden. Think about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Samuel, and ultimately David, these men were called to be kings to rule the world rightly.
Yet all of them, in varying degrees, were failed kings. In one way or another, each of these failed kings allowed the serpent back into the garden. The result was still the longing and groaning from the heart of Israel for Yahweh. Read the Psalms and you can hear Israel cry out for Yahweh to be King. Read the book of Isaiah prophesying that the Lord Yahweh must come with might. Most of us know Psalm 23, The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want. What is that but a certainty in the heart that God is my King.
But the Lord will not place Himself as King. He works by including His creation of the one in His image in His plans to be King. He wants to rule through a successor – a human one. He said this as to David the King in the book of Ezekiel, “I will set up over them one Shepard, my servant David, and I Yahweh will be their God.” The Bible further reflects that the son of David will be the Messiah – the Anointed One. Ah…we are coming…slowly…to the successor, the Anointed One who would be the Prince here on earth to usher in finally the Kingdom of God.
So in comes Jesus Christ, born of a woman, whose earthly father is a direct descendant of David, as that Prince who is to usher in the Kingdom of Yahweh. See the significance in what He says: the Kingdom of God is at hand. The longing of Israel from the initial fall of Adam and Eve onward that Yahweh be King is being spoken by Jesus. All good Jews knew what He was saying when He said the Kingdom of God is here! It had to be both scary and unbelievable. God’s kingdom breaks in through Jesus. The new Divine Order of love, nonviolence, peace, compassion, forgiveness, healing is happening through Jesus and He is calling Israel to join Him. This son of David, son of Man, son of God, is both an earthly Prince and the heavenly King come to earth. How complex, intricate, unnerving.
Of course, Jesus is no sissy and His breaking in of the Kingdom of God to the people is met with resistance. He tells it like it is and calls those out for their relationships with the serpent. And of course, they close in on Him. And He fights rightly and consistently with the Kingdom of God. The ultimate battle occurs on Mount Calvary where Jesus takes in all the darkness and all the dysfunction brought on by the serpent and swallows it up in ever greater Divine Mercy. Everything Jesus talks about preaches about and teaches about the Kingdom of God, He lives in that battle. Hence, Yahweh’s reign is undeniably one of suffering love marked by persons whose faithfulness and loyalty and love for God translates to neighbor. Members of His Kingdom are warriors, lovers of God by and through His Prince, Jesus Christ, fully human, such that we made in God’s image can know Him in a way never thought possible in the Old Testament.
And Jesus’s resurrection is the victory which enthrones Jesus as King, God as King of the world. The one God of three persons has Risen and takes His seat through Jesus Christ, finally…..as King. Yahweh and His David succeed in establishing their reign. All the prophecies of the Old Testament are fully realized. And now we made in His image are called as warriors of the true King Jesus Christ, the new Adam of Eden, to share the good news and participate in the Kingdom.
Go now and live your life for the Kingdom of God through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, and do not be afraid to live and share your life with those around you.