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I wrote this up last November around the Feast of Christ the King, but I decided to polish it up so I could repost it in time for Easter.

What is a king to me? What is a lord, for that matter?

I respect kings and heads of state, but I don’t worship them or bend the knee as if they were holy. God is holy. Christ is holy. The Spirit within me is holy.

I’m no anarchist, though. I do respect our worldly authorities. And, sure, going by the traditional sense of royalty and majesty, it made sense to ancient cultures to view their gods as kings of the entire universe, whose every word and deed could shape or unmake everything. It’s easy to see why we refer to Christ the King in that classic sense. He sits at a throne in the kingdom of heaven, at the Father’s right hand, and he has the crown that lets him judge every soul. And if you believe in the Trinity (with all its bewildering talk about the hypostatic union), then Jesus and God are one, so by the transitive property, if God is King, then Christ must be King as well.

And yet, there’s no kingdom big enough or old enough to rival the kingdom of God. It isn’t just out of withstanding temptation that Jesus rejects Satan’s offer to rule all the lands and dominions of the earth. He’s also saying, “These were never yours to give. They all belong to God the Father. What do I need them for if I am already his Son?” Jesus never came as a resplendent prince with an entourage of holy warriors and angels at his command, ready to free Judea from its oppressors. He came as a peasant, as a carpenter’s son in meek attire, and all he did was preach and heal wherever he went. But this humble image is one we exalt above all others. We call him “Lord.”

So why does Jesus hold this place in my heart?

Jesus is Lord because he gave himself to the whole world, from his ministry on earth to His Passion and Resurrection.

His triumph over death and sin is more than any mortal man can achieve in a hundred years. Jesus was born as one with the Father, and yet he earned his might by living among us without sin, preaching of the kingdom, dying in shame, rising from the dead, and ascending into heaven.

In this way, Jesus is also the model for our faith in God. As the Son, he was one with the Father. But as a human being who lived among us, he had to demonstrate that union in prayer, miracles, preaching, and his final act of sacrifice.

Jesus surrenders himself to God in all things. He is Lord not only because he is the only begotten Son of God, but because he showed us the way to salvation by his living example. We are called to do the same as him, being his disciples, that we might inherit a place in the kingdom of heaven.