Saviour and King
And Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (NRSV, Matthew 28:18).
You may have noticed that whereas crucifixes in this country and in Western Europe usually depict Christ as our Saviour hanging in agony on the Cross, those of the Eastern Church are of Christ the King in royal robes.
There is no contradiction here, for each gives expression to one part of the twofold theme of the Saviour-King which runs through the Christian faith. Thus before Our Lord’s Birth the angel told Joseph that Our Lady would bear a Son “and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (NRSV, Matthew 1:21). In contrast, Gabriel had told Our Lady that “of his kingdom there will be no end” (NRSV, Luke 1:33).
Both these two prophecies began to be fulfilled on Good Friday, for it was than that, hanging between heaven and earth on the Cross of Calvary, he died to reunite heaven with earth by restoring fallen man to God. It was then that his Kingdom began, even though its crown was a crown of thorns. For then began the fulfilment of his own prophecy of himself, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (NRSV, John 12:32).