Politics is something that stirs the emotions more than most subject matter. So I offer the following perspective based on what I trust both left-leaning and right-leaning Christians can agree upon.
First, can we agree that there is only one true King?
Second, can we agree that participation in partisan caricatures and absolutes is patently un-Christian?
Third, can we agree that a truly “Christian” community will make room for those from the political left, those from the political center, and those from the political right?
Fourth, can we agree that there is a more impactful Kingdom than the ones in which we are prone to anchor our hope?
The politics of Jesus consist of Jesus giving his life in the place of Barabbas. For Barabbas to live, Jesus has to die. A good man for an evil man. A lover for a hater. A man of peace for a perpetrator of violence.
Jesus died in Barabbas’ place.
Jesus died in our place.
As the crowds panicked and grasped for power, Jesus sat peacefully, quietly, and non-defensively, awaiting his unjust sentence from the Roman State.
Panic and grasping for power is the way of the world.
Sitting peacefully, quietly, and non-defensively, no matter what the political outcome, is the way of Jesus…and of his followers who have their kingdoms rightly ordered. “Do not fear, little flock, for I am with you,” says the King. Do not rejoice when you find yourselves in temporary positions of power and influence, Jesus said, “but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. Render to God what is God’s.
Fifth, when we think about politics, can we think about how Jesus uses power to change the world, and adjust our methods accordingly?
Sixth, can we take a step back and remember a few things?
The shoulders of a President are too small to carry a government. Remember that the government is already resting on the shoulders of the Prince of Peace. His Kingdom is already here. Of the increase of his government there will be no end (Isaiah 9:7).
The Kingdom of God is above this world, and is not of this world (John 18:36). He plays by a different set of rules. His ways are often contrary to ours–and always higher than ours.
Pilate (and, as the case may be, an American President) would have no authority had it not first been given to him by God. The American public voted as it did because God, in the mystery of his providence, had already cast the deciding vote (John 19:11).
The heart of every King and ruler is in the hands of God (Proverbs 21:1).
Insofar as conscience permits, as conscience is informed by biblical truth, believing people are to pray for, honor, speak well of, and submit to their leaders. This is not optional. If it was true in Rome, where religious freedom did not exist, it must be the case in places like ours where religious freedom does exist (Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:13-17).
Lastly, let’s remember that with very few if any exceptions, Christianity has advanced and flourished most when the State was against Christianity, and it has languished and suffered most when the State was for Christianity…..
Thanks Scott Sauls for the chat….