We’ve all heard the phrase, “What would Jesus do?” I’m sure that when it comes to politics, many Christians have their own opinions about “what Jesus would do” when it comes to the choosing a political party and voting. But what if the leanings of Jesus were completely different than what we imagined? Most politically involved Christians have Scripture they use to back their ideas and their reasoning for doing exactly what they think Jesus would do.
A closer look at the Scripture might reveal something different in the leanings, thoughts, and goals of Jesus as He looks at a nation.
Jesus lived in a culture rich with political power and intrigue. While people did not the right to vote and choose their own leaders, politics still existed. The political force of the day was power. Who had the greatest following? Who had the greatest force? Who had the power to rule? The two greatest powers of Jesus’ day were governmental and religious. They both had political power and persuasion and they both fought against one another.
Into the mix steps Jesus with a growing number of crowds that followed Him. This made the political powers nervous. But it gave hope and excitement to the common man. The current political system was corrupt with greed, power-grabbing, abuse, immorality, and selfishness. The common people were being taken advantage of, outrageously taxed, and given little freedom. The government had gotten too big and out of control. Many thought the time had come to overthrow the powers that be. They thought Jesus would be their man! They thought this would be their time! The crowds got larger. Discontentment with the current political system grew to a fevered pitch.
What would Jesus do?
He didn’t pick the conservative party. He didn’t pick the liberal party. Instead Jesus did something completely unheard of. He promoted a different form of government. He promoted a different kingdom. He prioritized His life toward the advancement of His own kingdom with no interest in being part of the political and governmental affairs of this world.
He advanced this idea with His disciples as He taught them to pray: Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10
He taught His disciples to let this new kingdom be the battle cry as they went city to city: And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Matthew 10:7
When He faced one of the most politically powerful men in the region He said: Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” John 18:36
When challenged by the politically powerful Pharisees who feared the potential takeover by Jesus, He said: “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed” Luke 17:20b
And even when the masses came to push Jesus into a political showdown and takeover, Jesus avoided the situation: Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself. John 6:15
Even thought there was political corruption Jesus did not take advantage of the groundswell movement. Even though Jesus would have had the numbers and ability to force a political showdown, He remained focused on something different. He promoted the advancement of a kingdom that would supersede any human governmental and political force. He knew that the advancement of His kingdom would bring about far greater good than the advancement of any kind of human form of government. He knew that unless the hearts of men and women were won, winning a political battle would not bring change to the nation.
Today, as in Jesus day, we are invited to do something different. We can and should be involved in our nation’s political process because we live in a land that secures that liberty, freedom, and right. But let us not put our hope in the governments of this world. Let us not be shaken by who is elected or not elected. Let us instead focus on the kingdom where One already sits on the throne. In His kingdom there is life, peace, and power. We have the privilege of expanding the kingdom by spreading its good news! There is a King! There is grace! All who will enter will find life! This King is Jesus! Let us do what He would do!