How Jesus Takes Over The Nation

How Jesus Takes Over The Nation February 6, 2012

Newsflash:It’s an election year. But of course, you already knew that. Campaign news andads are already dominating the media outlets, and these are just thepreliminary skirmishes. We all know things will really heat up this summer,which is when the real battles begin.

Electionsfor any public office are always important; Presidential elections even moreso. If anything, this particular Presidential election seems even moreimportant than usual. Big things are at stake in our country and our world; andwe need wise, effective leadership that is equal to the times. I’m sure yourealize this, and I hope you are praying for these elections and engaging withthem as you are able.

Withthese things in mind, it’s interesting to me to ponder the life and teachingsof Jesus, particularly as they pertain to political and social issues. Jesuscertainly was not blind to the cultural evils of His day. He spoke emphaticallyagainst the dangers of wealth and power. But He never called for a revolution.He didn’t start any social programs. He didn’t decry immoral social structures,even though there were plenty He could have attacked. In fact, when He wasconfronted with the most inflammatory political question of His day—payingtaxes to Caesar—He barely raised an eyebrow. Why? Because according to Jesus,evil is not located in social structures themselves. The problem is theindividual human heart. Jesus said, “What comes out of a person is what defileshim. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexualimmorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality,envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, andthey defile a person.” (Mk 7:20-23)

Theramifications are immense. This means, first of all, that we must never look atsocial and political evils as an “us-versus-them” scenario. It’s never “goodguys” versus “bad guys.” It never could be. After all, the gospel reminds usthere is only one Good Guy, right? For the rest, sin is always an issue for“we” and “us,” not “them.”

Second, Jesus’ teachingreminds us that God’s kingdom cannot and will not come by force. Coercion onlyperpetuates the status quo, which is conflict. Jesus didn’t force people intomorality. He loved them into freedom—freedom from self-idolatry and freedom tolove and serve the living God. That’s how He got you, isn’t it? Newsflash:that’s how He wants to get America,too.