Election time is here again, so I’m just going to say it: JESUS IS PRESIDENT.
That’s my politics.
Let me explain.
Two thousand years ago, the followers of Jesus began their movement as a radically subversive group in the middle of the Roman Empire. And they had a phrase that they commonly said to each other: JESUS IS LORD. Now, we’re obviously familiar with that phrase today, because we say it all the time in our churches and even print it on our bumperstickers. However, the implications have definitely changed over the years.
See, the Roman Empire’s leader, Caesar, had some bold titles that people used to describe him. Throughout the Empire, Caesar was referred to as “Redeemer,” “Lord of all,” “Savior of the world,” “King of kings,” Lord of lords,” and so on. Sound familiar?
“CAESAR IS LORD”
That phrase was common language to citizens of the Roman Empire. And, it implied several things: the perceived deity of Caesar, the Empire’s faith in him to be the answer to the world’s problems, and the belief that he alone possessed dominion and authority over the entire world. In essence, by confessing “Caesar is Lord,” they were saying, “This world is not right, but Caesar is the solution to fixing it.”
But the Christians in the Empire disagreed. They believed that there was another King, besides Caesar, who was the real answer to the world’s problems. They confessed that a condemned Jewish carpenter-turned-rabbi, whom the Empire had shamefully executed in public, had actually risen from the dead and was, in fact, the true Savior of the world. They confessed that this homeless teacher who publicly hung naked on a Roman cross was the real King of kings and the real Lord of lords. They confessed that Jesus was King, and Caesar was not the sovereign authority in the world. They confessed “Jesus is Lord.” Whoa…
Their confession wasn’t accepted or ignored. It’s what led to Christian after Christian being thrown to lions and gladiators. It’s what cost them their lives. Imagine this scenario. A Roman soldier passes a regular citizen on the road and says, “Caesar is Lord.” The person faithfully replies, “Caesar is Lord.” He passes another and the same short dialogue takes place. Another. And, then another. He passes another, but this time, something different happens.. This person responds differently…
“Caesar is Lord…”
“No. Jesus is Lord.”
And so, they were killed. They were killed with this confession on their lips. They were killed, because they confessed Jesus, not Caesar, as Lord. This confession, in its original context, is as much political as it is religious.
Oh, how the times have changed…
…or maybe not.
I got a message on Facebook the other day asking me to join a group that was dedicated to praying specifically for John McCain’s running mate. One line really caught my eye. It said, “I’m sure you believe with me that Sarah Palin, like Esther in the Bible, has been brought onto our political scene for such a time as this.“
See, although 2000 years have passed, most Americans still share the same confession as ancient citizens of the Roman Empire. The only difference is that we replace Caesar with our preferred candidate, and testify that his or her agenda is the solution to our society’s problems. Most American Christians seem to have put their hope in the Republican Party to fix our world, and forgotten their subversive heritage.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. -John 19:15
My hope isn’t in Washington. It’s in the sky. My hope isn’t in democracy. It’s in the kingdom of God. And, the kingdom of God is more than just heaven. It is the ideal society that Jesus is constructing full of people who live by love and peace; a society that is living the way God originally intended. This kingdom is now gradually spreading as one person after another prioritizes Jesus’ way above all. This has slowly been happening for centuries. But, eventually, a time will come when the real Savior of the world will be instantly revealed in the heavens (sky) and this invisible kingdom will finally be seen by all. And, when He returns, He’ll make all things right and bring justice to this broken world. Everything that was lost in God’s original, perfect world will be restored and that condemned Jewish carpenter who was publicly shamed naked on a Roman cross will be obviously seen by all as the true King of the world. Every eye will see this and every tongue will confess that…
Jesus is Lord.
This is where my hope lies. The kingdom of my God. God’s perfect plan for humanity. A fallen world made right.
“May your Kingdom come. May your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.” -Matthew 6:10
There’s an idealist alive in me, and he’s always been there, yearning and longing for a perfect world. Others have mocked him and brushed him aside as youthful ignorance, but he’s finally found his place, an environment where his hopes are legitimate. There is an idealist inside of me, and he’s found a home in the kingdom of God.
This world is obviously not perfect. There are over 2 million prisoners in America. There’s over 11 million AIDS orphans in Africa. Over a half-million women are trafficked annually as sex slaves and more than 900 million people suffer hunger across the world. Our world need help. Here’s the Good News: There is a solution and there is an answer to these terrible problems. There is hope for our world.
But, I’ve got some more news: America is not the solution. Democracy isn’t either. Obama and John McCain aren’t the answer. Neither is my hope in the Christian Left or the Moral Majority. The GOP aint God’s Own Party and I’m afraid the Democrats miss the mark, too. Jesus and His Kingdom are the answer.
Whoever wins this election is irrelevant to me, because the winner is only a paper champion compared to the real President of presidents.
Caesar isn’t Lord. Jesus is Lord.
Jesus is President.