Two thousand years ago, the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland were under the control of a non-Jewish ruler. It had been that way for the past several hundred years but, understandably this did not sit well with them. Like many minority groups today, they wished for self-determination of their own affairs under a Jewish leader who could throw off the foreign Roman rulers, the Messiah. And finally, a thirty year old itinerant rabbi from Nazareth came along and claimed to be that Messiah. Rallying the Jewish people together, he formed a political group that assembled an effective militia from the populace and, after several acts of civil unrest in the country, finally brought about the Jews’ political freedom.
Except, it didn’t work like that. This preacher, you probably guessed, is Jesus. His claims to be the Messiah were based on caring for all people, saving from sin instead of saving from politics.
So why do many Christians, who know about Jesus, want their God to be a political saviour rather than a spiritual one? We are political creatures, so, creating God in our image, feel that God is a political creature as well. We can’t go to the polling place without first asking ourselves “Who Would Jesus Vote For?”
But that’s the problem. Jesus didn’t vote. Even if He could (it’s not like the various prefects of Roman provinces cared if the people supported them or not) He wouldn’t. Because Jesus never cared about politics. He cares deeply about political decisions that adversely affect people, and as followers of Him, we should too, and vote accordingly. But he never intended to have political control over the world. The world is not our home, Heaven is.
Control over the affairs of man (whether political or otherwise), would definitely be tempting to any Christian, or frankly, a practitioner of any religion. This is probably why several politicians enact laws based on their religion (and why several countries have a state religion). And why Satan made his final offer to Jesus control over all the kingdoms of the world. Satan’s trick didn’t work for Jesus, since it would involve making someone other than God the most important thing in his life, but the siren call of forcing their religion’s laws on everyone no matter the cost is irresistible to some Christians. To make sure abortion is illegal because it is against their religion. To outlaw same-sex marriage because it goes against what they believe. They have the power to legislate God’s words to force people to believe. And they get to be ruler. Donald Trump has figured this out. He promises evangelicals that all their policy dreams will come true, and he will be their saviour. Not Jesus, Trump.
What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? – Jesus
Politicians ask for us to forfeit our soul in exchange for earthly rule. But this world is not our home. We cannot legislate someone to beleive in Jesus. We should want to follow Jesus’ words because we want to not because we have to. As Christians we need to set an example, by not voting for people who exhibit behaviour contrary to how Christ commanded us to live, but rather always remain confident that our God is bigger than politics, and ever be conscious of those being hurt by politicians’ goals to rule at the expense of others. Besides, what would Jesus want with our petty politics? He’s got Heaven to run.