When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." And they cast lots to divide his clothing. The people stood by, watching Jesus on the cross; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!" The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews."
One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong." 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."
I would like you to close your eyes for a few seconds and imagine what a king looks like. Now picture for me what his surroundings look like. Now, I want you to tell me what you saw.
Today is Christ the King Sunday. When I think of kings I am reminded of movies showing a medieval king sitting on his throne wearing a golden jewel encrusted crown with his queen by his side. Subjects are all around and the king takes pity on those who come to petition him for one thing or another. Or, he has someone lop off their heads. It could go either way. It depends if the king is in a good mood or a bad mood.
So why are we calling this man born of humble beginnings, Christ the King? Beside that, what does it even mean to call Jesus “Christ”? The word christ comes from the Greek word Christos and means annointed one. The Hebrew equivalent is the word Mashiach which means messiah.
Jesus two thousand years ago did not fit anyones image of a king, let alone someone who was a messiah. He had no possessions except the clothes on his back. Sure, he had followers but quite honestly they too were a pretty rag tag group. Kings are supposed to live in fancy palaces but Jesus did not really have a home. Then when the rulers of that day had Jesus put to death he didn't even put up a fight. He allowed himself to be beaten and hung on a cross to die. It was a humiliating death. This is a different kind of king, a different kind of messiah.
And yet we rightly call him Christ the King. By his death and resurrection a whole empire followed him. It could be argued that Jesus changed the world. You could even say he saved the world. Quite honestly I am quite sure Jesus saved me. The criminal who was cruxified next to Jesus admitted to his sins and he asked to be remembered by him when Jesus came into his kingdom.
Jesus's response was, “Truely I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Let us pray that we too will be forgiven for our misdeeds and we too will have a place in Paradise.