Apolitical Jesus

Denise M. Kohlmeyer

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I'm going to go out on a limb here (and it just might break ☺), but I don't see anywhere in Scripture where Jesus, or any of His first-century followers, got involved in the politics of their day, or lobbied government officials in the hopes of swaying their minds and thus their votes. Rather, Jesus, and all of His disciples thereafter pursued souls, lobbying only for the salvation of mankind.

I have long wanted to write on this subject, but fear has kept me from doing so. Yet with all the political hullabaloo happening in America (and elsewhere in this world), I feel prompted to finally speak up. Albeit, encouragingly, I hope!

Why? Because it truly pains me to see so many committed Christ-followers getting caught up in politics and political agendas rather than evangelism. It's almost as if we have lost our biblical bearings, and quite honestly it is heartbreaking. Jesus' directive in Matthew 28:19-20 does not say (tongue-in-cheek, of course), "Go, make policies, baptizing politicians into your own self-serving agendas, and try to teach them right from wrong."

No, in my opinion, Jesus wasn't a political person. He was already — and still is! — the King of kings and Lord of lords. He holds the highest Office already (of the Universe, no less).

While on this earth, He did not promote Himself or pander to self-aggrandizement. That would have been abhorrent to Him, given His humble servant's nature (Philippians 2:4-8). Nor would He let others tout His fame either. Rather He pointedly told His disciples and those whom He had healed not to broadcast who He was or what He had done (Mark 1:43-44, 7:36, 8:27-30). Not that all of them listened!

And, actually, at times He was maddeningly evasive. When He discovered that the crowds wanted to "make Him king by force, [He] withdrew again to a mountain by Himself" (John 6:15). In fact, He pulled this Houdini-type act several times; He would suddenly disappear when the crowds pressed in too closely, too demandingly, only to reappear somewhere else just as suddenly and unexpectedly.

Not exactly the kind of behavior befitting a politician. Most run into the public limelight, making themselves overly-available, foisting themselves upon us in the most egregious and insulting manner.

Jesus wasn't a back-stabber or slanderer either. He only had kind words, gracious responses, loving touches, a forgiving demeanor, and a genuine love and honesty that made Him highly attractive to the down-and-out masses who were beleaguered by the burdensome laws and liberalities of the governmental authorities and religious elite.

The only instances where Jesus ever used derogatory language was when He addressed the religious authorities, the Pharisees and Sadducees, calling them "hypocrites, whitewashed tombs, full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness, full of lawlessness, snakes, brood of vipers" (Matthew 23:27-28, 33).

Ironically, such language today would be labeled as bullying.
Furthermore, there is only one account recorded in Scripture where Jesus addressed anything remotely related to politics, in Mark 12:17, and that was only in response to a trap set by the Pharisees with regard to paying taxes, which Jesus deftly side-stepped with this wise response: "Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."

Friends, Jesus was all about liberating the religiously oppressed. Not the politically oppressed. He even refused to get behind the Jewish agenda of liberation from the tyrannical rule of Rome. He followed, rather, His Father's agenda, which was to "save that which was lost" (Matthew 18:11). The spiritually lost, that is, not the politically lost!

Even if Jesus had overthrown Rome, sadly peoples' souls still would have been left dead in their sins. Although they would have been politically liberated, they still would have been spiritually lifeless. Political freedom — while good in many respects — does not ultimately free or heal our soul-sickness nor alter our default destination of hell.

Jesus' heart was — and still is! — to win souls for His Father's Kingdom, to populate heaven with as many like-minded brothers and sisters as He can (those who have repented of their sins and have appropriated the free gift of grace through faith in Him, and have then loved and obeyed God with all their heart, soul and mind, and have loved all others as themselves, Ephesians 2:8-9; Matthew 22:36-40).

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Published 8-29-16