Lord Jesus Christ,
You call us to come
To be with you,
And to learn trust, faith.
By your Spirit help me
To see you,
To hear your voice.
Help me to follow you in all of life,
To walk in the joy and freedom of the resurrection,
Indwelt and led by your Pentecost Spirit.
Reign of Christ: Twenty-sixth Sunday after Pentecost, Week 29 in Ordinary Time
The lectionary guide accompanies Jesus into the praetorium, the headquarters of the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. We are also invited there – to be present with Jesus as he, the Son of God and promised King, stands before this Roman ruler, in this earthly seat of power.
Pilate begins by asking Jesus if he is the King of the Jews. When Jesus asks him whether this is solely Pilate’s question, or the accusation of others, Pilate sidesteps the question, first by saying he is not a Jew (thus absolving himself from being familiar with such Jewish political questions), and then by lining up the whole nation of Israel and its chief priests
against Jesus. They are the ones who have handed Jesus over into the power of Pilate;
but Pilate does not want to take responsibility for passing judgment on this so-called “King of the Jews”. There has been no political or riotous insurrection, and therefore he has no grounds for condemning him to death.
Pilate now moves toward inquiry: “What have you done?”
Jesus, however, is not kidnapped by the power structures he stands within. And he has no confession to make. Earlier he had sat with his followers, speaking to them, preparing them for such a time as this.
“You will stand before governors and kings because of me,
as a testimony to them. And the good news must first be
proclaimed to all nations . . . . Do not worry . . . about what
you are to say; but say whatever is given you, for it is not
you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”
Aware of his place before God, the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide him, and of the cup of suffering he is about to drink, he replies to Pilate in such as way to direct this ruler’s attention to the locus of Jesus’ kingdom:
“My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were from this world
my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over
to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”
Pilate can see that Jesus owns that he is a king, but in response Jesus again directs Pilate’s attention to the larger sphere of God’s rule and purposes:
“You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came
into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the
truth listens to my voice.”
Here Jesus uncovers the global and cosmic schema of the lie which riddled its way into the mind and soul and being of human kind in Eden, bringing death into God’s lively and good creation: layers of separation and hostility within each individual, between persons, cultures and nations. Even creation itself lost its purpose, and still groans for redemption and renewal — along with us .(Romans 8:18-25)
A different voice speaks this side of Eden: Jesus’ voice, speaking truth, showing the way. The call here is for us to hear, to bring our allegiance into full harmony with Jesus, The Way, The Truth, and the Life. And to continue listening – day by day, night by night – to the guidance he gives through the scriptural record, and his presence among us through the Holy Spirit today. The best in our Christian teaching and tradition always directs our attention towards God’s overarching desire and work, to bring all things back into harmony with God through Jesus. Listen to him.
At this time of the year—as busyness mounts, the consumer culture demands a hearing and claims our money, and we find ourselves caught up in being driven to “do Advent and Christmas”. We need pauses in our lives in order to listen. This spiritual discipline of pausing to listen, to be present to Advent, keeps us rooted in the great and gracious rule of God. Listen. We are about to enter the season of Advent, where the call is for us to be ready and alert to God coming among us.
Lord Jesus Christ, You come to us
In the presence of the Holy Spirit. Help me to be present to you –
To be with you, To listen —
With the ears of my heart.
Continue to free me from the many layers of death which hold this world captive.
Lead me in your Way of life.
Reign of Christ: Week 29 in Ordinary Time
- 11/19 Monday: John 18:33-36
- 11/20 Tuesday: John 18:37
- 11/21 Wednesday: 132:1-12
- 11/22 Thursday: 2 Samuel 23:1-7
- 11/23 Friday: Revelation 1:4b-8
- 11/24 Saturday: John 18:33-36
- 11/25 Sunday, John 18:37