The creed answers the question, ‘who is Jesus?’ from three angles. First, the creed tells us who Jesus is from eternity: Son of the Father Almighty. But unlike human sons, who are like and unlike their fathers, Jesus is of the Father’s being, like the Father in every way. He is fully God.
The second angle is historical: we declare that Jesus was born, suffered, died, rose again, and ascended into heaven. In this, the briefest of narratives, we affirm what Jesus did for us and for our salvation.
The solemnity of Christ the King invites us to consider Christ from the third angle, the eschatological, that is, with reference to the end (ta eschata are “the last things” in Greek). This phrase in the creed quotes Luke 1:33 and Isaiah 9:7 to assert that even though Jesus will hand the kingdom – that is his people – to the Father, and even though God will be “all in all” as 1 Cor 15:28 tells us, Christ will continue to reign with the Father, united with his Body the Church in the unity of the Holy Spirit.
But Christ the king is also judge of his Body and of all humanity, and “judge” can be a fearful image. Our fear should only ever be a holy fear, though, not a terror. When Peter, in his boat full of fish, recognised Christ, he exclaimed, ‘Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man.’ Yet Jesus responded to Peter’s admission of sin with mercy, and called Peter to be his disciple. So also Jesus reveals us to ourselves even as he is revealed to us, and as he spoke to Peter he speaks to us as well: ‘Fear not.’ As we say the creed today, let us do so in confidence of his mercy and his power. Faithful is he who calls us, and he will lead us into his glory.
Part of a series by Medi Ann Volpe