One way to think about something is first to ask what it is not and then ask what it is. Today’s passage guides us to follow this method in relation to the reign of the Messiah. The first four verses describe how the shepherds of Israel—a metaphor for the rulers of Judah (see Ezekiel 34)—destroy and scatter the sheep instead of caring for them and unifying them. The reign of Christ on the other hand is not a reign of destroying and scattering.
The next two verses describe the reign of the Messiah. It is the kingdom of the Davidic branch that functions with wisdom, justice, and righteousness. Peace and salvation will prevail.
We who are called to live under the reign of Christ have to ask ourselves if our lives are ordered to promote life, unity, freedom, and safety for all. When we answer this question honestly, we are humbled to confess that we have failed to live up to our calling. This admission is the start of our journey toward faithfulness. Then comes accepting that the reign of Christ is not something that we establish. We can only pray, “Let your reign come. Let your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
This prayer will be followed by acts of kindness, works of justice, and attempts to promote unity. In every move we make, the grace of the reign of Christ envelops and empowers us.
Gracious Lord, clear our vision, embolden our resolve, and strengthen us in our journey. Amen.
Our readings for the week highlight the Reign of Christ. Jeremiah prophesies about a future King from the line of David who will bring justice, righteousness, and security for the people of God. Luke 1 records the song of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. Zechariah praises God for raising up salvation from the house of David as God had promised through the prophets. This child will bring mercy, forgiveness, and light. Luke 23 recounts part of the story of the death of Jesus. Here Jesus, the Light of the world, dies as an act of mercy for our forgiveness. In Colossians, Christ holds first place above everything else. Through his death we are forgiven and brought from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.
Read Jeremiah 23:1-6. How do you trust in God’s promises to bring safety and justice as you watch unjust rulers oppress and abandon their followers?
Read Luke 1:68-79. What will you say when you break your silence?
Read Colossians 1:11-20. Recall a time when you waited for something in great anticipation. How did your faith help you find patience?
Read Luke 23:33-43. How do you recognize Christ as King when you experience or witness suffering?
Respond by posting a prayer.