Jesus Christ is our King, yet our supreme example of humility and Fear of the Lord. He appears today as our King, but He wears a crown of thorns. He is the most beautiful among the sons of men, yet He is mocked and scourged and crowned with thorns. He commands the hosts of Heaven, yet He is led away bound, to be crucified - Jesus, our true Messiah and Liberator.
As Jesus rides into Jerusalem to the hosannas of the crowd, He knows that their desire to make Him their King is motivated by expectations of earthly glory. As King, they expect, He would throw off the yoke of the Romans and restore Israel to the glory it enjoyed under David and Solomon. And so they shout, "Blessed is He Who comes as king, in the name of the Lord" (Luke 19:38). Jesus accepts their hosannas, for He is truly their King, but He must refuse an earthly crown, for His Kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). Before receiving His Kingdom from the Father, He must go the way of humility, that of the Suffering Servant of the Lord.
"Who hath believed our report?" says Isaias, speaking prophetically of the Christ, "And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? And he shall grow up as a tender plant before him, and as a root out of a thirsty ground. There is no beauty in Him, nor comeliness: and we have seen Him, and there was no sightliness, that we should be desirous of Him: Despised and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with infirmity: and His look was as it were hidden and despised. Whereupon we esteemed Him not. Surely He hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows: and we have thought Him as it were a leper, and as one struck by God and afflicted; But He was wounded for our iniquities: He was bruised for our sins. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him: and by His bruises we are healed" (Isaias 53:1-5).
What can "Fear of the Lord" mean, since Jesus Himself is Lord. But Holy Fear is one of the gifts of the Holy Ghost, which Jesus possessed in His human nature in their fullness, since the Spirit of the Lord descended upon Him at His Baptism, strengthening Him for His mission. Jesus applies to Himself the words of the Prophet Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because he has anointed Me: to bring good news to the poor He has sent Me, to proclaim to the captives release, and sight to the blind; to set at liberty the oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of recompense" (Luke 4:18,19).
Christ expressed the gift of Holy Fear in His reverence for the Father, especially in obedience to the Father's will. As He said to the Jews who opposed Him: "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that of Myself I do nothing: but that I preach only what the Father has taught Me. And He Who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, because I do always the things that are pleasing to Him" (John 8:28,29).
Where can we look to find such evidence of humility and Fear of the Lord today, even among those who call themselves Christians? Like the Israelites who apostatized and adored the golden calf in obscene revelries at Sinai, many Christians have abandoned the true way and taken to themselves the false gods of pleasure, wealth and power. Their religion is a fašade that will soon be torn away by a dose of reality. God's judgment is near.
But the attacks against the Son of Man only become more intense. A fragmentary manuscript from the early Christian era, discovered in Egypt and translated only recently, is being called the Gospel of Judas. It claims that Judas was actually a collaborator of Jesus Christ and was only following orders when he betrayed Him to the Jewish authorities for thirty pieces of silver, so that Scripture could be fulfilled. "The text gives new insights into the relationship of Jesus and the disciple who betrayed him, scholars reported today," says the New York Times. "In this version, Jesus asked Judas, as a close friend, to sell him out to the authorities, telling Judas he will 'exceed' the other disciples by doing so" (nytimes.com, April 6, 2006). Some Vatican authorities seem to be going along with this in their efforts to rehabilitate Judas. Of Judas, however, Jesus said, "The Son of Man indeed goes His way, as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It were better for that man if he had not been born" (Matthew 26:24). The "Gospel of Judas" is no Gospel.
The miracles of Jesus must also be explained away by the unbelievers. If the miracles are hard to believe, try believing this explanation of how Jesus walked on water - rare conditions, says one scientist, could have provided Jesus with a patch of ice upon which He walked in the sight of His disciples. This does not explain how the apostles, some of them experienced fishermen, could be stupid enough not to see the ice, nor how Jesus was able to reach out from His ice patch and save Peter, who began to sink beneath the waves because of his unsteady faith.
We also hear that the author of the infamous The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown, has been cleared of charges that he copied some of his ideas from a previous work, Holy Blood, Holy Grail. This means that the movie based on his book can be released on the intended date in May. Jesus Christ is portrayed as an all too human character who survived the Crucifixion and married Mary Magdalene, leaving a line of descendants who still survive. This blasphemous work must merit the wrath of God and call down His vengeance upon an impious and unbelieving race.
Meanwhile, this country is rocked by huge protests concerning the fate of illegal immigrants, and the future of our country appears uncertain at best. But our present troubles can be traced back to our rejection of Christ the King. "Everyone who acknowledges Me before men," says Jesus, "I also will acknowledge him before My Father in Heaven. But whoever disowns Me before men, I in turn will disown him before My Father in Heaven" (Matthew 10:32,33). Disowning Christ as our King has brought us to the brink of disaster as a nation, and no amount of conniving can bring us back except to bow humbly in obedience to Him, Who "though He was by nature God, did not consider being equal to God a thing to be clung to, but emptied Himself, taking the nature of a slave and being made like unto men. And appearing in the form of man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to death, even to death on a cross" (Philippians 2:6-8).
May we always, with living faith, acknowledge Christ as our King, and shout with those who followed Him, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" (Matthew 21:9).