Holy Land Pilgrimage

The Upside-down Kingdom

February 5, 2020

We had the unique opportunity of visiting two scripturally important sites recently, both of which stand as diametrically opposed ideas of kingship. Today we visited the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a sight that commemorates the promise of God to Abraham and his descendents. It reminds us also of God’s fidelity to His promise to send the Messiah and His everlasting kingship to all the nations. This promise found its completion in Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of all promises, broke all the conventional understandings of kingship. Unlike kings of the ancient biblical-era who possessed mighty fortresses, Jesus had no such fortresses. Jesus’s kingship is still present with us even now, however. Jesus’ kingdom is not bound to the things of this world. Rather, it is eternal, holy and beyond time and space. He always seeks to bring our hearts into His Divine Reign.


Later in the day, we visited the Herodian fortress built by Herod the Great between 23 and 15 BC. Though the massive structure is still breathtaking and beautiful, what remains are the leftovers of a worldly kingship that ceased to exist. We have a desolate place that is lifeless, even though it was a sign of prosperity and life in the past. In contrast to this, the upside-down kingship of Christ is still a living reality.

These two sites helped me to reflect more on the Kingdom of God and how that reality is still present to us. It definitely helped me to see how different the Kingship of Jesus was from that of Herod. Jesus never took pleasure in the vanities of power; he never took a throne that was decorated with the riches of the world. Instead, he was exalted as a king on a Cross—the most brutal instrument of punishment. This king reminds us of how one can be His subject. The answer lies in the same humility that he showed us on the Cross. The seeds of God’s Kingdom are sowed in our hearts when we humble ourselves. I hope and pray that many would see this upside-down Kingdom and be subject to the one eternal King Jesus Christ.

Ankit Jose Mathews
Archdiocese of Kottayam

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