Just about everywhere you look these days, there are articles and posts galore about the coming Presidential election, authored by Christians from all walks of life. I mentioned before that I would not be writing any additional posts on the pros or cons of which candidate to vote for, or which political party best represents the hopes and aspirations of our Christian faith and I intend to adhere to that commitment.
What I do find noteworthy however and have selected for the topic of this post, is that Jesus lived during the time that the Romans occupied and controlled the Holy Lands. Under Julius Caesar, Judaism was officially recognized as a legal religion, a policy followed by the first Roman emperor, Augustus. The ruling Hasmonean dynasty was deposed by the Romans after the Roman Senate declared Herod the Great “King of the Jews” in c. 40 BCE, the Roman province of Egypt was established in 30 BCE, and Judea proper, Samaria and Idumea (biblical Edom) became the Roman province of Iudaea in 6 CE.
To infer that the Romans were brutal in exercising their imposed authority on these Biblical regions would be an understatement. We know that they extracted a crushing tribute from the innocent peoples whom they enslaved. Yet there remains a striking oddity. Jesus never had anything condemning to say about the Romans. In fact, the only recorded statement where Jesus mentions Caesar is quite famous and it reads as follows:
Matthew 22:20-21 NASB”
And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”
This is the same Jesus who had lots to say about the Pharisees, Sadducees, Chief Priests and Scribes and the Jews in general. This is the same Jesus who cleared the Temple of the money changers and sellers of sacrificial animals and birds. This is the same Jesus who said of the Jews in John 8:44 NASB “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Yet where is the condemnation for the occupying Roman authorities? There isn’t any. Does it ever cross our minds to why this is? It’s obviously not because Jesus was not aware of their occupation and authority. Jesus makes that abundantly clear when He responds to Pontius Pilate (the fifth governor of the Roman province of Judaea) in John 18:36-37 NASB:
“Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
I would like you to focus on exactly what Jesus said. “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”
“If my kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”
Maybe if the Church at large had of taken this to heart, maybe if we followed the Great Commission that Jesus gave us and that God given task was our primary focus, maybe we as the collective Church, would not be in the situation that we find ourselves in today. But we haven’t done that have we?
And for some insane reason we seem to think that if we can gain power and authority over this worldly kingdom that we live in, then we will be able to impose our Christian moral will on those, whose hearts and minds have yet to be changed. And to add insult to injury, we throw stones at those within the Church, the body of Christ, who we think have walked away from following God’s will, as we perceive it to be. And what is that perceived will of God that so many pursue? Gaining political power and authority to enact legislation and laws which adhere to our moralistic Christian thinking. Legislation and laws do not change people’s hearts and minds.
The whole point of the Mosaic Law was that we could not, in and of ourselves, perfectly follow God’s will but we totally abandon that reality and think somehow if we only can impose these laws on everyone, then we will be getting in line with God’s will. If that didn’t happen for the Jews, why will it be different for the Gentiles? I’m thinking that it matters little whether one is Liberal or Conservative because both sides have long abandoned following the principals of God’s Holiness and will. Unholy means will never justify holy objectives. Take a good hard look at the hatred and dissent that supposedly is representative of God’s mercy and justice, that is so prevalent today, and tell me that we are being Ambassadors for Christ.
Romans 3:8-12 NASB
“And why not say (as we are slanderously reported and as some claim that we say), “Let us do evil that good may come”? Their condemnation is just. What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written,
“There is none righteous, not even one;
There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.”
The reason Jesus never had anything negative to say about the worldly kingdom that ruled all of Judaea was that the worldly kingdom of Rome was not His kingdom. So who’s kingdom are we fighting for, ours or His?
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!