I’ve discovered something about following Jesus: I think He wants me to sever any political associations. I find it interesting that our American culture has embraced the idea that Christ should be married into campaigns, debates, and political agendas as a whole.
I want to travel back in time about 2,000 years to the ancient land of Judea. This point in history was marked by some of the most pervasive political tension ever. The Jewish nation was torn between two massive political engines, each aiming to destroy the other.
There was the “Religious Right” of the day, led by the powerful government system of the Sanhedrin and enforced by the Pharisees. This political party was given power by the Roman Empire to keep the Israelis from stirring trouble. Their favorite weapon was the Sabbath. By creating and enforcing rules about the Sabbath day, they were able to keep the deeply religious Jews under control.
Then there was the movement of insurrectionists known as the Zealots. As powerful as this political movement was, it was also the scourge of Jewish society. Secretly admired by many people, these insurrectionists wanted nothing more than the overthrowing of Roman power in Israel. Their favorite weapon was the sword. Nothing would make these men happier than taking down a centurion or praetorian guard.
Fascinated by this new and unusual movement, the Pharisees probed and prodded Jesus of Nazareth with a barrage of tests and questions, looking for any sign of weakness. These men knew the Scriptures. They knew about Messiah and feared that, if this man were Messiah, their relationship with the Roman Empire would be over. The power that Rome had given the Sanhedrin would disappear.
The Zealots, on the other hand, rallied behind Jesus and His group of ragamuffins. If this man were truly Messiah, He would free the Israeli people from the Romans. But Jesus didn’t come to free Israel from Rome. He came to free the world from sin.
So at the end of the day, both political parties were completely pissed with Jesus. The so-called Messiah hadn’t fulfilled any of their dreams, hopes, and desires. So the insurrectionists and religious leaders set aside their political differences, shook hands, exchanged money, and murdered Jesus.
News like this forum bothers me. Anytime political parties decide to play the “Christ card,” I grow very suspicious. But I grow even more suspicious of the church that opens its doors to politics. Are you seeing where I’m going here? Christ isn’t interested in the kingdoms of the world. He’s not planning to use the world system of governments to proclaim His kingdom. He plans to use the Church. We have no business getting involved in the petty arguments between political parties. We exist for a much higher calling. Democrat, Republican, Independent, etc. The Bride of Christ must transcend these divisions.
Like my pastor once said, “Christ didn’t come to take sides, He came to take over.”