As all now know, yesterday the ballots were cast and Americans have voted in the 45th president, Donald Trump.
As I woke up this morning to the news and spent the good part of an hour scrolling through Facebook posts and Tweets, my heart was both encouraged and greatly troubled by the cheers and complaints I read from friends, family, pastors, and news accounts I follow.
I’ve talked to many that are genuinely nervous and others who are genuinely excited. As a nation we are so divided over this election and the church doesn’t look much different. And the question my mind keeps coming back to is this:
How do we cut through the political jargon and get to the heart of both camps of people with the good news of Jesus?
In Acts 17, Luke tells us about an encounter Paul and Silas have while on a missionary journey. They travel to Thessalonica to preach the good news of Jesus (17:1-4) and were then sought after for arrest by the authorities for doing so (17:5-6).
“When they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city officials, shouting, ‘These men who have turned the world upside down have come here too, and Jason has received them as guests! They are all acting contrary to Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king — Jesus!’” (Acts 17:6-7).
In my last post, Where is Jesus in the Political Election? I talked about Jesus being our hope and foundation in this political season.
But the only reason that is true is because Jesus is already King. When Jesus said, “My Kingdom is not of this world” in John 18:36, He didn’t mean His Kingdom isn’t in this world. It simply means it doesn’t run according to the way of this world.
Jesus is reigning now as our King and that is good news in which any conservative or liberal Christian can find common ground!
In Jesus’ earthly life, Jesus was political; but He wasn’t a politician. He was concerned with political issues, but sought restoration not by political reform but spiritual reform. He didn’t use the authority God entrusted Him or the fame man bestowed upon Him to control people through force or coercion. Instead He used His authority to show the remarkable, counter-cultural nature of the Kingdom of God that He was coming to inaugurate. He used His power not to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:45). Instead of exercising power over people, He humbled Himself by washing His followers feet—a task fit only for a house slave (John 13:1-17). He brought freedom from the bondage of sin not by passing laws, but by loving prostitutes without judgment (John 8:1-11), and spending time with tax collectors and sinners (Luke 5:27-31).
In all of this, Jesus showed us that citizens in the Kingdom of God should not divide over political power but should unite to show to the radical nature of His love through a Christ-like life.
We are first and foremost followers of Jesus and citizens of His eternal Kingdom. We are secondly Americans and exiles in a land awaiting our eternal home. In America, we are given the freedom to vote our beliefs and have a say in our leaders, but that was never a right we were guaranteed nor a privilege to which we should cling too closely.
Donald Trump is the next president of the United States. But Donald Trump, just like every other world leader that has ever lived will one day step down and no longer lead. Jesus on the other hand is still on the throne and as citizens of His Kingdom first, our joy should not be swayed by the affects of politics on this world. While uncertainties, doubts, and questions are understandable, they should never become crippling because with Jesus as our King, we don’t have to fear what earthly leaders might do.
The Apostle Paul reminds us that “No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the recruiter” (2 Timothy 2:4) and says just a few verses later, “Keep your attention on Jesus Christ as risen from the dead and descended from David” (2 Timothy 2:8).
Let us not get caught in the trap Satan tries to ensnare us in by letting the political election divide the Church. Instead, let us unite our vote to keep our attention on Christ, find common ground in the truth and comfort that Jesus is still on His throne yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8) and walk hand-in-hand to bring the good news of Jesus’ Kingdom to our world.