We move from Mark’s Gospel to John’s on this final Sunday of the liturgical year. The question of kingship is Pilate’s focus in John’s narrative of the passion. But those with faith already know who the real King is here in this trial.
A bigger focus that John’s Gospel gives us from the very beginning is this: What makes the King who comes from heaven different? The answer appears throughout Jesus’s passion: He hands himself and everything he has over for the sake of those who belong to him. (Notice how often variations of the phrase “hand over” appear throughout the events of Jesus’s last days—twice in today’s Gospel passage alone.)Unlike earthly rulers, Christ, the King of the Universe, gives his own life that all may have life in him. Click To Tweet
From the beginning, the Father gives his Son to dwell among us, and Jesus’s whole purpose is to give testimony to the truth of the Father. As true King, Jesus does not grab, hoard, or amass what he has for himself but freely gives to his friends everything the Father has given to him. On the cross, Jesus hands over his spirit, a Johannine Pentecost. And through the Spirit who unites us together, Christ will hand us back to the Father as a perfect offering of praise.
Unlike earthly rulers, Christ, the King of the Universe, gives his own life that all may have life in him.
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”
Image credit: Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash.
Read more reflections on the Sunday readings here:
- The heart of the Eucharist
- Come and fill our hearts
- The slow work of the Spirit
- Listen for the Spirit
- Let’s be recognized