I want you to stop and consider something as you read this blog, this week: If you were to be arrested and suspected of being a follower of Jesus, would there be enough evidence in your life to convict you? And I am not talking about the sales and the meetings and the other things you do around and in the building we call Church. What is there in your life that people could point to you and accuse you of being a Christian?
The Gospel this week (Mark 13.1-10) is for the Feast of the Reign of Christ the King. It is the focus of all that has been said and done since the Day of Pentecost and this is the end of another year in the Church’s Calendar. Next week will begin again preparing from the Feast of the Incarnation (Christmas) and the coming of the Living Word of God into our space and place.
In taking all of this in, there is a question that gets asked by Pilate in the Lesson that each and all of us get confronted with, “What is truth?”. Now please understand that I am a huge fan of the Star Wars movies. I saw my first one with my dad in May 1977. Ever since, I have always loved going to see the new one when it came out. And like every movie franchise, it has its catch phrases… like when Han Solo says, “I have a bad feeling about this.” There is another phrase from Jedi Knight Ben (Obi-wan) Kenobi and you might recognize it: “Everything things is true, from a certain point of view.” If you need a refresher or if you have never seen the movies, try this out:
I point this out because it is the issue that is being addressed. Pilate is struggling with what the truth about Jesus really is and what the leaders of the Jews are accusing him of. What is the truth of all of it? Is Jesus rebel scum trying to upset the political balance in his favour or is he a spiritual leader who has irritated the leadership of the Jews? What is the truth of the situation and how is Pilate to know or figure it out? As a spiritual figure, Jesus is not a threat but if he is a king, then he is a threat to Rome and its maintenance of Empire.
Thing is, Jesus is not a king like any other nor is his kingdom recognizable because of it borders. Jesus speaks to the lowly and the down trodden. He eats with outcast and sinners. He serves rather than demanding service from others. His kingdom is not built on military might or through violence. Those people who belong as citizens of his kingdom, are born from above and are powerful because they have been given power to live that life by God the Father. I spent some time watch footage of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation as the 39th Monarch of the United Kingdom. The moment that caught my imagination was the “Recognition” when the people pay homage to the about to be coronated queen. Four times the people are asked if they will obey her and each time they resoundingly say yes. Watch it here:
We know well of course what happens next. Jesus is denied by Rome and rejected and revived by his own. He was then taken beaten and scourged. Then he was marched outside the city walls where with two other men, was crucified and died. His throne was a cross and his crown a circle of thorns. The Good news in all that is that his death and burial are not the end of the story but the beginning. God the Father raised the Son from death and things went on from there.
So what happens when you have the truth standing in front of you? What happens when you are asked to give an account for the hope that lays within you? Would people be able to convict you as being a Christian person?