My kingdom is not of this world. –John 18:36
I’ve recently got into the habit of reading the daily newspaper online. Political and football news always seem to take center stage. In response to that, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” The meaning of this statement is pretty simple. But so many of the Religious Right Christians out there fighting the battle against abortion and gay rights, which are both extremely bad sins that need to be done away with, I think often lose sight of the larger issues: such as living by faith in the Gospel, experiencing life in the Holy Spirit, and developing personal ethical standards. They get wrapped up in politics, and they forget the words of Jesus, which in effect were, “Politics are not My thing,” or “the U.S. government is not of the Gospel,” or how about, “My heavenly kingdom is not of the world of politics.”
Jesus wasn’t into politics. They tried to make him a king once, but he ran away into the mountains. The only times he said anything about government leaders, it was either satirical, disinterested, or rebuking. Herod he called a fox: a predatory animal that only comes out at night, often a symbol of a sly deceptive person. Pilate he corrected, saying that all of his political authority was given to him from God up above. And he’ll admit that, with Paul, that governmental authority does come from God (Rom. 13). But that’s about it. He does not go to say that world governments are of God, or godly, or even suggest that governments have anything to do with the Gospel or life in the Holy Spirit.
Separation of church and state? Was Jesus about that? You kind of get the idea that he was—if not legally, then at least practically so far as what Christians should be dwelling on, on a day to day basis. I’d think that today, Jesus would be focused more so on what the Southern Baptist, Assemblies of God, United Methodist, and other evangelical churches are doing right now, and how their missions are being carried out. I think Jesus cares about that 90% more than he does about what is going on in Washington D.C. Not that he doesn’t care about the government at all. Sure he does, but it definitely comes out as a secondary or maybe even tertiary issue in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Jesus cares more about missionaries than politicians. Of that I can be sure. Does he love them more? Maybe. Did he love John more than the other disciples? Maybe. Peter, James, and John were in His inner circle. What about the other apostles? Or about Judas Iscariot, whom he called a devil? God loves everybody. Jesus died for everyone. But not everyone repents from their sins and puts their trust in the cross for their salvation. Not everyone embraces their own cross either. I think God feels more of an affinity for those who care about His evangelistic cause on the earth: living out and preaching the Gospel. Not so much for those who lobby for Republicans and Democrats. Not at all. I don’t see Jesus having much in common with those types of people at all.