I see more Christians buying into a very false assumption about Jesus Christ. That assumption is this, that Jesus never confronted the political establishment, and also that He was totally A-political throughout his entire ministry. Well I am here to tell you that this conclusion is patently false, especially considering who Jesus was and whom he represented while on earth.
The problem with this false doctrine and thinking is it instantly gives a lazy Christian the mental rationalization to check-out on anything of a political nature in life. This doctrinal error is almost as bad as the pre-trib rapture doctrine that has also caused the fire of Christianity to fizzle into apathy. What is worse, this doctrine also gives Christian pastors a convenient way to stay out of political controversy by avoiding topics in the Bible that have been politized in our culture. By saying Jesus wasn’t political, Pastors and congregants can simply pass the buck. Abortion, War, “Gay” Marriage, 2nd Amendment, Trangenderism all things the Bible speaks extensively on, yet they will never be expounded upon because they are “too” political in nature, and invite controversy. This is some lazy and dangerous thinking, thinking that breeds lukewarm, worldly Christians that are totally disengaged. Christians that fall into this trap generally have no affect on our culture for the KINGDOM of GOD.
Jesus Our Perfect Sovereign
Now take special note, I emphasized the words KINGDOM purposefully, Why? Because everything about Jesus and His ministry was the proclamation of His coming Kingdom, and we all know that Kingdoms are extremely political in nature seeing it is a form of government, and like all governments they demand allegiance and submission. The Kingdom of God is no different, it too demands total submission.
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;- Philippians 2:10 (Isaiah 45:23, Romans 14:11)
Jesus was not only political, he was the perfect political representative of the Creator of the Universe, being the Creator Himself. Jesus’ very presence in Jerusalem was political in nature, He went everywhere preaching the Kingdom of God, and both the Jews and the Romans understood that he was declaring Himself as King. This was very disconcerting for both the Jewish authorities and the Roman authorities seeing that it had such overt prophetic implications for the Jewish people.
And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him. – Luke 8:1
They saw His presence as an immediate threat to their power establishment, a power establishment propped up by the Roman empire. Though he was very plain in saying that His Kingdom was not of this earth throughout His ministry, that was not how the Pharisees understood Him, nor how they understood the prophecies concerning the coming Messiah. They saw the Messiah as a conquering King in the Spirit and power of David. Jesus did not fit this mold and the leaders rejected Him, but it didn’t reduce the power and authority He wielded among the people. Jesus having the hearts and minds of the people represented an obvious threat to the Pharisees who undoubtedly had more power than Herod Himself because they controlled the Temple. There was no question that they threatened anyone and everybody with spiritual ostratization if they were found to be followers of Jesus in any way. This was tantamount to saying they were cursed to Hell, for their belief in Jesus, seeing the Temple was such a central part of Jewish practice and religion. Sacrificing at the Temple was their only way to know and please God as far as they knew.
Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: – John 12:42
Jesus declared to them that all they had to do was believe in Him, as God, and thus they could access the Father without any need for the auspices of Temple worship. This infuriated the Pharisees, they believed themselves to be the sole authority of God, and thus the only instructors and teachers as to how to access God’s Kingdom. Jesus absolutely nullified their power on this earth through His teachings regarding His Kingdom. As such the Pharisees exercised their civil authority and tried to have him killed many times, but Jesus knowing that it was not his time to die, supernaturally avoided their attempts at detaining and killing him many times. Thus resisting their civil authority.
Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. – John 8:59
I have heard so many Christians say that the Pharisees were only spiritual leaders, that simply is not true. They had the power to detain, judge, and kill. That is the definition of civil authority. The only thing they could not do was crucify someone. Only the Roman empire had that authority. In fact when calling for Jesus’ death they made it clear as to whose authority they preferred, and appealed to Caesars rather than God’s authority in scripture.
And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. – John 19:12
The Pharisees were the Political Establishment
The Constitutional Rights Foundation notes in an article called Religious Tolerance and Persecution in the Roman Empire that Rome would accommodate the culture and religion of conquered nations as a means to pacify resistance.
“Rome won its empire by force. But to control such a vast empire, it needed to win the cooperation of its subject peoples. It did this in various ways. Instead of punishing conquered nations, Rome often treated them as allies, encouraging them to take part in the glory and wealth of building the empire. To the more primitive peoples in Gaul (France), Britain, and Spain, Rome offered an advanced civilization with a written language (Latin), a legal system, and well-run cities. The people in the eastern part of the empire—Greece, Asia Minor, Middle East, and Egypt—had already been deeply influenced by Greek civilization. Rome recognized and honored this civilization, allowing Greek to continue as the language of educated people in this part of the empire. To all its subject peoples, Rome granted religious toleration as long as they also honored Roman gods. “
“In 63 B.C., the Romans conquered Judea, the land of the Jews. Rome immediately recognized it had a problem because the Jews refused to pay homage to Roman gods. Rome gave in and exempted Jews from this requirement. Rome did this in part because the Jews had helped Roman general Julius Caesar win an important battle several years earlier. Soon Rome recognized Judaism as a legal religion, allowing Jews to worship freely.” (crf-usa.org)
This relationship between the Roman government and the Pharisees was critical towards the pacification of Judea. The Pharisees and King Herod were made co-rulers in Judea by the Roman government. There is many examples in scripture showing Herod and the Pharisees exercising civil authority while under Roman occupation by making laws, conducting trials, commanding armed forces, and also administrating punishment for violation of national laws and religious prescriptions. The Pharisees in particular would punish citizens for violating religious laws that had no basis in Roman law. But they were allowed because Rome didn’t want to be seen as interfering with Jewish tradition and culture for fear of rebellion and uprising among the people.
Jesus seeing this partnership, waded into this political arrangement and directly challenged the authority of Herod, and the Pharisees. As a result of this partnership with the Roman empire Jesus told them in no uncertain terms that they were not children of God, but children of the devil seeing it is the devil that rules from positions of spiritual power, and was in direct control of the Roman empire and beyond.
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. – John 8:44
The devil even came to him early on in Jesus’ ministry trying to demand His allegiance, and to recognize his power over all the nations of the earth in the Temptation scene of Matthew 4. Anyone who partners with the power establishment of the nations of this earth, partner in no uncertain terms with the devil, whose goal is to usurp the authority of the Kingdom of God. For Jesus, being political was to represent the true Kingdom, by calling people to repentance and faith in His Kingdom. Everything about Jesus was a political act without question. The Bible is a political book, Jesus’ ministry was political in nature, and His coming Kingdom will be establish to put an end to all the nations and governments once and for all. To say Jesus wasn’t political in nature is to total misunderstand the Bible in its entirety. Jesus came to conquer the world and that is exactly what He did. As a result of the spread of Christianity, the Roman empire fell, laws changed, the power of the Jewish religion was laid waste and the Church itself became a massive powerbase that has changed the course of history. The Kingdom of Jesus has had more of an impact on political history more than anything else has ever had. This is just a fact, a fact that has its genesis in the political ambitions of God Himself. God seeks to unify everything under the authority and power of His son Jesus Christ. If you are a subject of the Kingdom of God through faith in Jesus Christ, then this too should be your goal as a representative of our King Jesus.
As disciples of Christ we are called to be ambassadors of His Kingdom. All Kingdoms have laws, and authorities, citizens, jurisdictions and sovereigns at their head. If we are subjects of Christ and His Kingdom then we must act in this world according to these principles and laws. In fact Christ demands us to engage the fallen culture and political scene in an effort to right what is wrong and contrary to the laws and righteousness of God. He told all of us that if we are living a sacrificial life, and proclaiming the teachings of Jesus and His Kingdom then we will be brought before governors and kings to testify to the true Sovereign who reigns in Heaven.
And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. – Matthew 10:18
The bible is the full counsel of God on all issues, in fact these issues are central to issues concerning life and death. Everything including politics is to be made subject to God, and everything is to be judged according to their adherence or rebellion to the Laws of Heaven. To deny this fact is to deny God, He came into this world and demonstrated exactly how He expects us to act. There is no question that Jesus made it His business to call out the establishment on their lies, their hypocrisy, and their hubris seeing that these things went against God and His sovereignty. To fail to engage our culture, and to affect our political scene is to fail in representing the whole counsel and Truth of God. The disciples after Christ’s resurrection never failed to engage the political world, in fact they pushed so hard against the establishment, like their master they too were put to death by political entities as martyrs for their faith. Every disciple met their end by the hand of governments accept the Apostle John, but even he was banished to the Island of Patmos and sentenced to death by being boiled in oil. Something he survived, but he too was faithful to act in a political manner by being a thorn in the side of the political powers of the earth. They fulfilled their call to act in a political manner, representing the sovereignty of God here on the earth. To say that Jesus was not political is an insult to the Kingdom of God, and undermines His politized death in Jerusalem.
When Jesus was asked by His parents why He ran off to go and teach in the Temple when visiting Jerusalem at 12 years of age, Jesus answered,
And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? Luke 2:49
What was that business? It was preaching the Kingdom of God to the nations, peoples, and even kings of this earth. Likewise we too must be about our Fathers business, and that business is political in nature. To avoid politics is tantamount to avoiding the Business of our Father God, and is a direct violation of Christ’s final command when he ascended up to the Father in the beginning of the Book of Acts. Christ said that all power was given to him, and that we must go preach this to all nations, that means involving ourselves in the politics of these nations. How can we teach God’s laws lest we engage with the culture in which we are called to impact for the Kingdom?
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:16-20
Please like us on Facebook and also sign up for the Wake the Church Newsletter. Our nation has become corrupted and is falling, and that is in direct correlation to the failure to preach the entire counsel of God’s word regarding salvation, social issues and politics. So in a word, stop making excuses, stop being lazy, and begin to exercise the authority and power of God’s Kingdom within the political scenes of our respective nations. That is what Christ did, that is what the Apostles did, and that is what we are expected to do. So we put aside foolish, false doctrines like the one that says Jesus is not political and we go and impact our nation on every level for the Kingdom.
Article posted with permission from Wake the Church