You know why we like talking about politics so much?
Because God placed that value in our hearts.
Yes He did!
(So talk to Him about all those annoying Facebook rants.)
You see, politics is not the spawn of Satan or the work of the flesh.
Politics is important.
And Jesus is the Master Politician.
“The activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.”
We can all agree that it is important to attend to the activities associated with the governance of a country or any other area.
Where we disagree (and turn ugly) is in the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.
God is concerned with the well-being of humankind (in every country, religion and race). The problem is that we have reduced politics to what we like (in every country, religion and race) as oppose to being guided by the Gospel.
The core problem lies in the hope to archive power.
We are all in the Game of Thrones.
And Jesus is the only one that is free from it.
In the past, I have fallen under the illusion that Jesus is not political. But the reality is that he is the most political of all. As Eugene Peterson says, “The gospel of Jesus Christ is more political than anyone imagines, but in a way that no one guesses.”
It all started when Jesus, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant.” (Philippians 2:6-7)
The highest chose to be the lowest.
Fully immersed in the human experience.
And he was radically active in the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.
He did it differently to all the other religious and political leaders in history. But make no mistake, Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and he has a singular agenda in place.
Multiple times, Jesus began his statements by saying, “You have heard it said…” And off he went debating the ways of the religious age.
By touching lepers, empowering women and healing the sick on the sabbath, Jesus was challenging the climate of his time.
Think of the Jewish leaders as the conservatives and the Roman rulers as the liberals. They both had a part in killing him. And they both desperately need his Kingdom.
One time, two of Jesus’ disciples asked for power and position. The other 10 got riled up and began to argue with them. Jesus got them together to settle things down, “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around,” he said, “and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage.”
Today, in the midst of so many opinions and pundits, I hear the heartbeat of Jesus still saying:
“It’s not going to be that way with you.”
Yes, Jesus cares about politics.
But not our kind of politics.
Our liberal and conservative agendas are in opposition to the agenda of Christ. We want to make it work… but it just doesn’t. Neither the elephant nor the donkey can represent the lamb.
It’s up to us.
Not to create a new way to be politically Christian, but to follow the politics of Christ.
And his platform is clear:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
The right and the left will always miss an unmissable component. Their ultimate goal is to win, rule, dominate, govern, control.
They seek power.
But Jesus seeks to serve.
And he told us to do the same.
Every political agenda on earth has an opponent.
The politics of Jesus came to eliminate them.
And he told us to do the same.
“Pray for those who persecute you.”
“Forgive those who hurt you.”
“Love your enemies.”
“Welcome the stranger”.
“Make disciples of all nations.”
With Jesus there is no us and them – there is just us.
– Greg Boyle in Tattoos on the Heart.
In Water to Wine, Brian Zahnd said it best, “The kingdom of Christ is the most revolutionary politics — perhaps the only truly revolutionary politics — the world has ever seen. Unlike all other political agendas, the supreme value of the politics of Jesus is not power, but love. Jesus rejects the politics of power for the politics of love.”
When we use Old Testament text to contradict New Testament revelation, we prove that we are not reading Scripture to find Christ, but to find ourselves. We try to accommodate our current beliefs instead of accommodating our beliefs to what God already determined.
And trust me, you can find Bible verses to justify racism, slavery, misogyny and hate. You can highlight one verse out of context and create a whole theology outside of the heart of God.
It’s been done before.
It will be done again.
But if we choose the politics of Christ then a new reformation can begin.
Jesus is what God had to say.
Jesus is what God is still saying.
And no matter how you vote on November the 8th you get to surrender to his ways of grace. Those are the politics we can share with the rest of the world.
Faith without works is dead. (That’s what human politics looks like.)
We are to demonstrate the politics of Christ by our love not our pressure. Our service and humility will shine the brightest light on his truth. It is our unity and honor which represent our King and his Kingdom.
If we want the Kingdom come, then we need the King to rule. If we want on earth as it is in heaven, then we need to honor heaven’s priorities.
The church has spent 2,000 years electing Donalds and Hillarys, it might be time to fully elect the Christ. He doesn’t need our votes, he wants our hearts.
You see, he’s not a legalist or a slave master.
He’s the sacrificial lamb and the humblest of kings.
Will he get our alliance?
+ Read more in: The Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder
++ Watch this: