Monday, October 5, 2015

Jesus Christ and Politics

Through the years, there are times I have voiced my political and social views very openly and wasn't bothered by having discussions (even heated ones) with those who disagree with me. As a Christian, though, the ultimate goal is to be Christ-like in your behavior. I interpret the actions of Christ to be those of love, sacrifice and true meekness. Jesus was also courageous. He never had a problem with saying something controversial in the presence of the Pharisees (the most knowledgeable of religion). When they questioned them, He answered them honestly, often tripping them up in their own hypocrisy.
As I have grown in Christ, I began to look at Christ's actions in context of different settings. And I began to see things I never had before about Him. As I looked very closely at how he handled politics. In Jesus' time, the Roman Empire was at its absolute height. The Jewish people were lorded over by this Empire. This caused so much political heat among the Jews. In fact, we are told a little about the Zealots, who believed in overthrowing Rome.
There were temples set up where Roman gods and goddesses could be worshiped. And I try to imagine how hard that would be for followers of Yaweh, Jehovah God. It had to be miserable. I imagine I would want 'the anointed one' or 'Messiah' to come and take a throne here on Earth and get rid of the Roman rule, their idol worship and end the mistreatment of all my Jewish brothers and sisters.
But how does Jesus respond to the zealous people and the political and social issues of that time? I imagine it was confusing and disappointing to even his inner circle, the 12 disciples. Jesus never took His focus off His Father. When anyone would try to engage Him in discussions of politics, He ALWAYS steered them back to what the Father wants and the Kingdom that was NOT of this world. There is no doubt that He would've seen the Jews mistreated at the hands of Rome. If you know history, there were horrible riots, blood baths and so many crucifixions that occurred as Jews fought for their land and leadership and Rome executed great and cruel punishment. Yet, Jesus did not stop these things from happening.
The two most political and social things Jesus ever addressed (in my studies thus far) were in regard to paying taxes to Caesar (Rome) and Peter's defense of His Lord, Jesus by cutting off the ear of Malchus. The second occurred when Jesus was arrested. And Christ confused Peter by healing Malchus and chastising Peter in love, reminding him of the dangers of being violent. Here, He did not resist nor instruct any of his disciples to take up arms and try to overthrow the Jews and Romans who were involved in His arrest, trial and crucifixion.
I must back track to the first social/political stand Christ took that I am learning from. When asked by religious leaders who to pay tribute to, God or Caesar, Christ stated 'Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and give to God what is God's.' This seems strangely passive and could even be viewed as submissive toward the Romans. But actually, I believe Christ's words here speak of His authority and how the Roman rule is not important enough to address, though He could. Later, Jesus has Peter go fishing and take the fish he catches and open it up and take the coins out of it and go pay. This again, is a powerful demonstration of the authority of Christ. Nothing was too difficult for Him. But He came for a specific reason. And none of it had to do with social issues or politics. He came to share His Father's views; to fulfill the Law and become the King of a nation that does not exist in an earthen nation. The Kingdom of God is a nation comprised of followers of Christ and that Kingdom exists inside of these believers and has just one requirement. . . faith.
So, I look at what Jesus did. He did what His Father showed Him to do, every step of His ministry and time on Earth. It has become clear that though I have political views and opinions, it is not productive to voice them nor God's way in dealing with ANY problem. What am I to proclaim? Christ, crucified for all; our atonement and source of all things good and the door into the Kingdom of God.
God's way of fighting the wrongs of this world aren't from the outside in. Since the grace covenant that began with Abraham and was fulfilled in Christ Jesus, the way to defeat the evil is from the inside out. What does this mean? If the Kingdom of God exists within us, Christ dwells within us, the Holy Spirit dwells within us then by prayer, many gifts, power and above all FAITH, lives can be changed. As souls are won for the Kingdom, their values will change. If each Christian reached one lost person our laws in America for homosexuality and abortion would become meaningless. Why? Because the Living Truth (who is Christ) transforms people's lives. Their values, views and choices change.
So, Christ is my example. I'll only strongly profess Christ and will only proclaim Him. Obama, Trump, Carson, Bush. . . . I refuse to defend them or deny them. It's just not what Christ teaches me to do. Will I make a whip and drive out the money changers as Christ did in defense of the Father's temple? Perhaps something akin to that. I pray that I will have the faith to proclaim His holy name if the time comes when people are forced to deny His Lordship. I humbly pray I will please God regardless of consequences.

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