It’s a mistake to portray Jesus as an apolitical preacher with nothing to say to his socially prejudiced and politically charged context. In fact, he was and is deeply political, but on his own terms with his own political priorities that fit no one particular party. Nevertheless, it could be said that his disruptive politics is antithetical to the interests of superpowers.
In the interest of separating Church from State we can’t allow ourselves to segregate our moral values from public life. “Those Christians who try to avoid all political discussions and engagement are essentially casting a vote for the social status quo,” says Timothy Keller. “Since no human society reflects God’s justice and righteousness perfectly, supposedly apolitical Christians are supporting many things that displease God. So to not be political is to be political.”
It’s political when we say that Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not. It is in that sense that the church is a political community. “You can’t be indifferent to politics,” says Peter Wehner, “because politics is about human lives, and if you get your politics wrong there’s a huge human cost. And if you get your politics right, you can create the conditions for human flourishing and human dignity.”
A good place to begin framing our political opinions would be to put ourselves on the hillside and, along with his spiritually famished and politically curious crowd, listen intently to Jesus’ words. What we hear should do more than pique our spiritual interest. It might just overturn some of our notions about how Christ-followers should conduct themselves politically.
Though his kingdom can’t be defined by a party or by a certain form of government, it most certainly does affect the kind of political convictions we form, policies we support, and politicians we choose to represent us. Among other things, politics matters to God and should to us. He didn’t set us free from our personal sin so we could keep our social sins for ourselves!
These are excerpts from a book I hope to publish in the near future on the Sermon on the Mount called: What In The World? Some Moral, Social, and Politically Disruptive Implications of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.