Often times in today’s culture we talk about power: “What is power?”, “Who has power?”, “How is power used?”, “How to accept power or defend against power?”. We know that some power in life comes from physical force, like the power of a physically intimidating person or a hurricane. The brunt of this type of power is to be feared and avoided at all cost. We know that some power derives from inner strength. This power is positive and tends to draw people together. Jesus had this type of positive power. His words and actions were full of positive authority which the world needed.
We know the ancestry of Jesus and that He is a descendant of the second and greatest king of Israel, David. Our first reading reminds us of this long standing royal lineage. In this passage, we learn that David, already anointed and king of the southern kingdom of Judah, is now anointed king of the northern kingdom, Israel. His task is to restore the faithfulness of the two kingdoms and help them regain the glory which was lost under King Saul. He did this by moving the capital to Jerusalem from Hebron and he brought about peace and solidarity in this newly reunited set of kingdoms. This time of a King David was a high point in the story of Israel. Unfortunately later in time, the kingdoms would divide again. Many of the people would be exiled to Babylon, only to return much later. They would rebuild again, but again be conquered not only by the Greeks, but later by the Romans.
However, we know that in the fullness of time in the town of David, a child would be born. Sadly that child, approximately thirty years later, would be crucified and above his head the inscription would read, “This is the king of the Jews.” Luke’s Gospel tells us of this fact.
In this Gospel, we learn that God’s chosen one, is stretched between heaven and earth. He is jeered at and mocked by the assembled crowd. There are two crucified with him, one of whom spoke to Jesus. What did he see in Jesus?
This man saw far differently than the rest of the crowd. He saw a king, a Messiah, a righteous one. He even asked Jesus for a share in the reign of God He knew he was not asking about a physical kingdom. Jesus told him that “he will this day be in paradise with Him.”
Do you realize that this powerless outsider and criminal now has a share in royalty and glory of God. This offer of forgiveness by Jesus showed how great a king Jesus was and what a great king He is. The question for us is how and in what ways do we recognize the power of Jesus in our lives.
BACK TO LIST