Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
Listen Now. We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
ENGAGED: The Call to Be Disciples
Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Matthew 28:19-20
Hearken to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to Thee do I pray. Psalm 5:2
Good morning Prayer Team!
Unless one is stranded on an isolated island, he or she lives in relation to other people. The titles we give to other people indicate the nature of the relationship. For example, if we call someone our “boss”, then we work as underlings to the boss. The boss has final say in our work decisions. If we call someone our “doctor” then we are patients. We submit to treatment plans prescribed by our doctor. As the patient, we give our obedience and trust to the doctor.
Depending on what we call Jesus, it sets in line the relationship we have with Him. Today’s reflection examines the title of Jesus as “King.” If Jesus is our King, then we are His subjects, His underlings. Kings wield absolute power over their subjects, who pledge their obedience to the king. People kneel before a king, and bow with deep respect when the king enters the room.
The call to be disciples calls out to us to see Jesus as our King. The “engaged” disciple not only dutifully, but joyfully, portrays the role of servant to the King. In the United States, where most of the Prayer Team resides, we don’t have a concept of what a king is. We don’t have monarchs in this country. To contrary we can choose to elect or not elect the President. And the President has term limits—he doesn’t serve for life.
If Jesus is our King, then we should treat Him with the reverence and dignity afforded to a king. We should be obedient to His will. When His commandments conflict with our goals, we are to be obedient to His. (Of course, that is easier said than done). We should kneel before Him in prayer every day. We should bow with deep respect when it comes to following His Commandments. Like a King, Christ’s appointment is not short duration. He has no beginning and no ending, as we discussed previously. The Nicene Creed, the statement of our beliefs, says, in reference to Christ’s Kingdom, “His Kingdom shall have no end.” In the book of Revelation, we read “The Kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15) That means we will forever be His subject and serve Him. I suppose there are some who serve themselves more than God. But if salvation is the way by which we will enter the Kingdom of God, then we must serve God at all times.
Christ is not a tyrannical King, nor does He make unreasonable demands and requests of us, His subjects. Rather, He is a benevolent King, who doesn’t lord power over the people, but instead showers them with love and mercy.
Is it hard to call Christ your King, to let Him rule over your life? Absolutely. However, unlike kings of yesteryear, when tyrannical kings ruined countless lives, submitting to Christ as your King brings not only a great sense of love but a sense of security, that when the going gets really tough, Jesus is going to have your back.
We have a hard time with words like trust and obedience in our society. Some people still don’t understand these concepts, just ask the military. Yet learning to trust in Christ and obey Him as our King not only helps to get us to everlasting life, it makes this life more purposeful. So, let God rule over your life. Give up some control. Learn to trust in Him more and more. Allow Him to be your king. Be His servant. And ultimately you will see Him face to face and answer for the relationship we have built with Him.
Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy! For the Lord, the Most High, is terrible, a great king over all the earth. He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet. He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom He loves. God has gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. Sing praises to God sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the king of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm! God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne. The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; He is highly exalted. Psalm 47
Let Him lead. Let us follow.
With Roger Hunt providing today’s Daily Reading: Listen Now.
These readings are under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA, Apolytikion of Abbot Marcellus © Narthex Press, Kontakion of Abbot Marcellus © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
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