Confessing Christ the King

Cretan CrucifixionWhen they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. [[ Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’]] And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!’ The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’ There was also an inscription over him, ‘This is the King of the Jews.’ One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’ (Luke 23:33-43, NRSV)


We might say that Christ the King Sunday is really about confession.

Confession, we might say, means admitting our sins. Giving them off our chests to another person, or only to God. “We indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds…” one thief says to another. It is more than saying that all is not right with the world; it says we are what is not right. It is not “good for the soul,” as the adage has it: it is threatening to the soul, but it is necessary for it is true.

At the same time, we might also say that confession is affirming our faith. To confess “Jesus is Lord” — as the very first Christians did — is to pledge our lives, to commit our loyalty, to place our trust in Jesus. More than an intellectual assent to who Jesus is: “…but this man has done nothing wrong. Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” An assessment, but also the following-through with all of who we are.

Holding these two together, we might finally say that to confess is to cast our lot in with something costly. It is admitting who we are and who we follow. Confession means saying something close at hand, something meaningful, even dangerously true. Confession is crucial to faith.

John Newton (slave trader turned slave turned Anglican priest, and author of the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’) is reported to have said, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour.”

Confession, in all the senses of the word.

Photograph of Jesus crucified between two criminals is © Copyright Stephen Craven and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License

One Response to “Confessing Christ the King”
  1. Sherri Rene says:

    Well said Josh!

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