Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. Luke 23:34 (NRSV) Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:42-43 (NRSV)
One of the castles Margie and I visited when we were in Germany in 1999 was Neuschwanstein. It was this castle that Walt Disney based his castle on for Disney Land. I still remember the throne room where King Ludwig had built his throne up on a pedestal so he could be above everyone else, even when he was sitting. For us Americans is it hard to understand the power, wealth and authority that kings had. I mention this because this coming Sunday we are celebrating Christ the King Sunday. Do you think of Christ as King like King Ludwig, someone with great power, wealth and authority that treats us his surfs as trash? Scholars have suggested to help us get a better grasp of this day it might be better to call this Sunday the “Reign of Christ Sunday” instead. The Greek word that is translated as kingdom can also be translated as reign or power. So where does Christ reign? We believe Christ reigns in heaven and on earth. Christ desire is also to reign in every person’s heart. We know Christ reign is one of love. That was clearly demonstrated while he was suffering and dying on the cross. Christ love was extended to those who crucified him, which also includes us since it was our sin and wrongdoing for which Christ gave his life. Christ showed his reign and power over sin by forgiving them and us. But Christ love was shown to the thief on the cross when Jesus welcomed him into paradise. Those words show that Christ power extends into heaven where he reigns on high. Those words of love are also spoken to us when we are at the point of death. Jesus’s desire is to welcome all believers into heaven to be with him. Jesus did not need a fancy throne room to show us his power and love. Instead Jesus power and reign was shown while he spoke words of love to us while hanging on the cross.