Summary: The conclusion of the church year, Reign of Christ (or Christ the King) Sunday presents preachers with an opportunity to reflect on the future, especially to examine what assumptions about the future influence their own theologies and sermons. The scene in John’s Gospel when Pontius Pilate interrogates Jesus manifests the failure of Pilate’s imagination. He cannot understand Jesus’ identity as a king in a manner other than what he is used to; it must be about power and domination. Pilate’s categories are inflexible. This resembles too much Christian preaching and teaching about the future and about the nature of the gospel. A kingdom or reign that is “not from this world” is one that is unfamiliar to this world and our norms. One piece of a preacher’s job description is to break open our closed minds so that we might imagine and live into a future that is indeed different.
I wrote this article for those preparing to preach or hear sermons on John 18:33-37. It was originally a contribution to the “Dear Working Preacher” series. Read the full article at Working Preacher.