Politics At Jesus’ Table
Jesus made room at his table for everyone, including those on opposite ends of thought. At Jesus’ table, everyone has a place and everyone is equal. I can imagine that the discussions that went on among his disciples were pretty lively at times, especially between two of them — Matthew, the tax collector and Simon, the zealot.
In Jesus’ time and country, a tax collector was a Jewish man who was working for the Roman government. They were looked upon with disdain by their fellow Jews. They were not included in the temple, nor were they guests of honor at anyone’s party. The tax collectors would basically bid for their job. They would tell Rome they could extract X amount of dollars in taxes. If the number pleased the Romans they got the job. However, many of them collected way more than their bid, which they ended up pocketing. They were extorting their fellow countryman for the sake of their oppressors.
Zealots, on the other end of the spectrum, were revolutionaries. They were the ones that wanted to take Israel back from Roman domination. They wanted their country back and they were willing to kill Romans to get it back. They believed in the sovereignty of Israel and were willing to lay down their lives for the cause. They hated the Romans and wanted them gone.
Jesus invites both of these men to his table and his team. I wish I could go back in time and see these two men interact with one another. It would be like putting the most conservative Republican on the same team with the most liberal Democrat. Jesus had some guts. And he made it work.
What this shows me is that it’s possible to disagree with someone and still work together, and *gasp* even be friends. Jesus’ instructed these guys to love one another as their commitment to him. He taught them to serve one another as he had served them. He taught them to love one another as he had loved them.
I am sure that it took a while for these two to get it but eventually, they did. Both had to give up their ideologies for a picture of a much bigger kingdom. Jesus wasn’t interested in the politics of his day. He was interested in establishing his kingdom. I think the same is true today.
Now, back to American politics. It really grieves me the way that the American Church is acting over politics. You would think that we were at war with one another split down a political line. I’ve read so many statements on Facebook about how you cannot be a Christian if you vote for Hilary Clinton. I’ve read about the same number of people stating there’s no way you can be a Christian and vote for Donald Trump.
My Christianity isn’t based on who I vote for . . . my Christianity is based upon whom I confess as Lord . . . and that is Christ.
You would think that during election time Christians somehow have managed to throw out the teachings of Jesus until after election day. Even then there will be doomsayers on whichever side loses. So many people are afraid the country is going to hell in a hand basket if either candidate gets elected. Folks, I have heard this rhetoric since I started voting.
If we truly believe that Jesus is Lord then stop your bellyaching, name-calling, mud-slinging and judging and start doing what he told us to do…prefer one another and love one another as he loved us, especially towards those that disagree with you.
In the end, our trust has to be in HIM and not a political party. Neither Trump or Clinton will be the savior of the United States. Neither one of them are, nor will be, the perfect candidate.
If Jesus can take two opposing men and bring them together, helping them understand there is a larger kingdom that we are to be concerned with, then don’t you think we should do the same?
My fellow Christians, please hear me . . . you are a Christ-follower first and foremost, an American second, and a member of a political party (or not) third. Don’t forget that order. Right now the people outside of the Church think we are a bunch of whiny cry-babies when we don’t get our way.
We are to be known for our love, not our political affiliation. If you want to immerse yourself in the political arena, then, by all means, go for it. Just remember who you represent! You represent Love (for God is love). Jesus taught his followers to love their enemies and to bless those that persecuted them. He said this to a group of people living under a hard and repressive regime.
At the end of the day, someone will win, and someone is going to lose. God will still be God and life will continue on. Will there be changes? Of course, hopefully for the betterment of everyone. Regardless of who is in the White House, we are called to pray for our leaders, submit to the governing authorities and do all we can to live in peace.
There’s a place for you at the table of Jesus. There’s also a place for the person who politically believes exactly opposite as you do.
Matthew and Simon learned the lessons of Jesus.
Will we? I sure hope so!
For a very interesting article on a greater kingdom perspective in this election, read Brian Zahnd’s article on How I Am Voting.