Long live the king
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:13-20)
Christ is King in the truest sense of the term. He has absolute power. “All things were created by him and for him” (v. 16). But, as we look around our world, it doesn’t seem like Christ is in a position of pure power. Death and disease reign. Sorrow and pain run rampant. The Church is persecuted and abused by a selfish, God-hating world. In fact, it has been that way for centuries, and it only seems to be getting worse.
St. Paul reminds us that we are not only surrounded by this dominion of darkness. We ourselves were once held as slaves by its evil power. Darkness ruled in our hearts. Blinded by that darkness, we were totally lost. We groped about—doing things our own way and foolishly believing that we were going the right way. While we imagined that we were kings of our own lives and slaves to no one, we unknowingly served sin and Satan in everything we did. We had no spiritual sense of direction, and so we wandered aimlessly, far from the loving rule of Christ the King.
A look at our world and at our own sinful hearts hardly leads us to conclude that Christ is a King with any kind of authority or power. But then Paul reminds us that things are no longer as they once were. We aren’t in that dominion of darkness anymore because Christ himself rescued us. How does a king rescue someone from the rule of a tyrannical enemy kingdom? He enters enemy territory, fights the battle, and wins. And that is exactly what Jesus did for us. Jesus, the image of the invisible God—light from light, true God from true God—entered our world of darkness. He fought temptation every day of his life and won. He was wounded, and darkness appeared to win the day, as he hung dying on a cross, but the victory was his. He rescued us from the dominion of darkness when the light of Easter morning shone upon his empty tomb, and he appeared alive for forty days before he returned to rule from his glorious heavenly throne. Now death and darkness have no dominion over us who have seen and trust our risen and reigning King.
Now Christ the King, the beloved Son of God, rules us with love and mercy, blessing us with his gifts—gifts of redemption and forgiveness (v. 14), reconciliation and peace (v. 20), and glorious and gracious rule for the sake of his Church (v. 17-18).
Now we can only see Christ reign as King by the faith he has put in our hearts. One day we will see it with our own eyes, when the firstborn from the dead raises us to new life. Meanwhile, let us live to serve the King who has rescued us from darkness. He is the King by whom we were created; he is the king for whom we were created. Long live the King!