The liturgy today brings us back to the distant past in our salvation history, when the people of God were suffering under the tyrannical reign of King Antiochus about 160 BC. The prophet wanted to give courage and hope to his people, that God himself, the Ancient One who is still in charge, will judge all the kingdoms of the earth. In the visions of the night, the prophet saw one like a son of man coming on the clouds of heaven. He received from the Ancient One dominion, glory, and kingship; nations and peoples of every language serve him. His dominion is an everlasting one, which shall not be taken away, whose kingship shall never be destroyed (Daniel 7:13-14).
This prophecy was fulfilled with the coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, whose kingdom is eternal. Through his life, death and resurrection, he has totally and finally defeated the forces of evil. By his cross, he has completely overcome what constitutes the powers of darkness, Satan, sin and death, symbolized by the four beasts.
As the universal king, Jesus has won victory, and reigns, not through violence, but through the power of love, by carrying the cross to Calvary. It is said of him that he is God’s chosen servant, and his beloved whom he delights in; upon whom he places his Spirit, who will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not contend or cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory, in whose name the Gentiles will hope (Matthew 12:18-21 see also Isaiah 42). He has followed the humble and simple ways to reign as the king of the whole world.
In our gospel reading, he submitted himself to human authority. At his trial, Pilate asked him if he is the king of the Jews. In his answer, Jesus wanted to know from Pilate if he was saying it of his own accord, or if others had been telling him about him (Jesus). Jesus was not afraid, and clearly spoke the truth that his kingdom does not belong to this world, since his subjects were not fighting to prevent him from being handed over. With this, Jesus said that, it is he (Pilate), who has affirmed his kingship, which was the reason for his birth, since he, himself came into the world to testify to the truth, which anyone committed to the truth hears through his voice (John 18:33-37).
From Jesus’ answer, we can see that Jesus is that servant of God, who through non-violence, has won as the universal king, an eternal and universal kingdom that is not limited by geographical boundaries. It is a kingdom of truth and life, characterized by holiness and grace, justice, love and peace. This is the kingdom that has already come, already among us in mystery, in our midst within the holy Church, and which is yet to come to fulfillment.
In the midst of trials and tribulations of life, every disciple finds hope of victory in the end, as well as, peace, joy, happiness and consolation in the universal kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has won victory for us through his life, death and resurrection. This was the case with John the beloved disciple, who was banished to the Island of Patmos, where he shared with us the distress, the kingdom, and the endurance we have in Jesus, because he proclaimed God’s word and gave testimony to Jesus. Caught up in the spirit, he tells us that Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father, to him be glory and power forever (Revelation 1:5-8).
Exalted in the spirit, he tells us that he, who is the Alpha and the Omega, the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty, is coming amid the clouds. Every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. All the peoples of the earth will lament him.
Rev. Fr. Michael Onyekwere, SDV, PhD