Jesus for President
With the recent Canadian election just behind us and the upcoming American election cresting the horizon, it’s hard to escape the political chatter that surrounds us. And as I’ve been observing this, I’ve found it interesting to compare our political climate to that of Jesus’ time. Here's where this has led me...
Jesus was born in the first decade BCE into a nation that had been imperialized by a tyrannical empire led by authoritarian dictators. The region of his birth was being ruled by a malicious client king named Herod the Great. Herod heard about Jesus’ birth and was so afraid of this baby, that he rashly ordered that all boys under the age of two be slaughtered. Fortunately, Jesus and his family escaped this maniacal infanticide.
Shortly after this event, Herod the Great died and left the throne to his son, Herod Antipas who ruled for the remainder of Jesus’ life. Jesus grew up in a nation oppressed by evil rulers who exploited the people and reigned with terror and power. It was under such a regime that Jesus and his followers were persecuted, and by which he was eventually executed in an extremely grotesque fashion.
While this is a striking narrative, what seems most appalling to me is Jesus’ political response.
How many tweets did he send out taking shots at the government? How often did he use the hashtag #notmyemperor? How much of his time was spent complaining about the unfairness of the most recently elected (which they weren’t) officials?
This just wasn’t his jam. In fact, he seemed to promote respectful and honorable compliance with the system that existed. He obviously didn’t agree with all the latest governmental policies and taxation laws, but he didn’t make this the focus of his conversations, actions, and life.
Jesus knew that ultimate hope could not be found in politics, power, or even national freedom. No, hope is so much bigger than that. We can spend our lives hoping that politicians will do and be what we want, but it’s not going to get us very far.
Don’t get me wrong. I know there are injustices in our system and I’m not okay with that. I have my opinions on the way things should be. But I can either choose to complain and argue, spreading dissatisfaction that probably won’t help anyone… or I can choose to promote hope—despite what is going on in the world around us.
I know there are issues.
I know the issues were worse in Jesus’ day.
And I know that worrying and complaining won’t change the way things are, they will only rob me and others of the hope that we can have despite the political landscape.
What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.