When I was a kid and thought about Jesus, I always imagined Him as this cuddly and friendly guy with long hair in a white robe. And while it’s true that Jesus is our friend, that he cares for us deeply, He is much much more than that. I find that, too often, we want to focus only on the easy comforting parts of Christ and ignore more difficult aspects. One of these aspects is Christ’s authority.
In Isaiah 22:22 the prophet writes of the Messiah, "Then I will set the key of the house of David on his shoulder, When he opens no one will shut, When he shuts no one will open.”
This may not seem challenging on the surface, it may seem even a little strange. The key of David represents the authority of Christ. He is a King in the line of David his authority comes before all other authorities in our lives.
I am often comforted by the idea that what Jesus opens no one can shut, but sometimes I don’t like to think about the other side of the coin; that what he shuts no one will open. If you are like me, I’m sure there is something that you desperately wanted, a job, a move, a baby, a spouse, and maybe that thing didn’t happen. Maybe it wasn’t in Christ’s will for you. Maybe that was a path that he shut. These things are sometimes hard to accept. If Jesus is our friend, why wouldn’t he give us our heart’s desires? Maybe it is because he is also our authority. He sees who we are, who we can be, and our lives in a way our earthly friends cannot. He alone knows what we truly need to be made holy, and he will open that path too us.
As Catholics, we are fortunate that Jesus also left us a visible authority on Earth, the Church. In Matthew 16:19 we read that Christ passes on His authority to Peter. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." How fortunate we are to not be left to our own guessing game! How loving of our Lord to build us a Church to guide us in our darkest times and to help us interpret some of the most confusing questions of our age.
So as we wait for the arrival of Jesus this Christmas, let us not forget that the cuddly cute baby in a manger is more than just that, He is the one who we should allow to rule over our lives, for He is kind and just and will never lead us astray.
Reflect: What is something that you are holding back from giving Christ authority over? (finances, career, family planning, love life, etc.)
How is Christ different from the authority figures in our earthly life?
Act: Spend some time in prayer today and give Christ authority over something in your life that you have difficulty giving over to Him.
Image by thesaintsproject.org