Jesus and politics
One time Jesus avoided being trapped in a political question by saying, "GIVE TO CAESAR WHAT IS CAESAR" and Jesus gave us an example of avoiding politics. Some followers of Jesus get so excited about helping people; they get involved in secular politics or church politics in an effort to accomplish more. Although Jesus avoids political positions, frequently politicians quote Jesus or the bible to justify their positions. From the beginning of Jesus life until the end, politicians were concerned about Jesus. Calling Him the "King of the Jews" upset people at His birth all the way to His execution, even though He clarified "My kingdom is not of this world". Many of the political agendas promoted by using Jesus name are misappropriated. When Jesus quoted God's command to "honor your father and mother" He was not urging the government to take care of older people but for children to take care of their parents as well as treat them with respect. When Jesus says, "I was hungry and you gave me something to eat" He didn't say, "I was hungry and the government provided food". He was not promoting food stamps or government feeding peoples but rather us helping others. There is nothing wrong with a government helping people but it wouldn't be necessary if we all followed Jesus and helped our relatives, friends and neighbors. Sometimes Christian leaders take political positions and even encourage their followers to seek political office. In some countries the word Christian is part of political party's name. Most political groups have some positions that are commendable from God's viewpoint and also some positions that are offensive to God1.
When Jesus walked the earth, He did not take political positions rather when the opportunity arose He seem to take personal encouraging positions instead. When He encountered people like tax collectors that treated people unfairly or cheated them, Jesus didn't criticize them or protest them or promote political action against them, rather He associated with them and led them to God. One time in Jericho, Jesus told Zacchaeus, a tax collector, "I must stay at your house today". The result was Zacchaeus announced later, "I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount". Apparently they had a very unfair practice from the occupation forces where a soldier could force you to carry his gear. Jesus not only didn't encourage political action against them but He stated, "If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles". Yes, that could have been a teaching exaggeration to discourage retaliation but it also indicates Jesus did not encourage political response. Many societies discourage adultery and yet when confronted with the opportunity, Jesus did condemn the woman caught in adultery or make an issue about the unfairness of the man not being blamed also, rather He just encouraged her to "leave your life of sin". Truly, Jesus lived the example that He taught of "Treat others as you want them to treat you"2.
Some followers of Jesus believe they can accomplish more by playing church politics and rising to levels of leadership or influence. Jesus gave us a different example. Shortly after the beginning of Jesus ministry, He returned to His hometown and attended the weekly service "as was His custom". As Jesus said what God told Him "to say", it was so offensive to the others, they gave Him what today might be called "the left foot of fellowship" and kicked him out of the Synagogue. Some followers of Jesus are so anxious to have Jesus in a religious leadership role they refer to Him as "rabbi" even though Jesus says, "you are not to be called ` Rabbi'". One may wonder if some religious leaders ever read what Jesus says. Yes, Jesus had a lot of contact with religious leaders and referred to them as "hypocrites" and "blind guides" multiple times, which is probably not a way to get a leadership role. It appears that none of the original twelve disciples were from a religious background and certainly not a religious leader background. Jesus example of avoiding politics and political opinions may be an example to be followed. Remember everyone is created in God's image and God loves the "world" so much that He gave His son for everyone who is willing to believe in Him. "Do not judge" who is willing to change and believe in Jesus3.
1. Mk 12:17; Mt 2:2-3; Jn 19:21; 18:36; Mt 19:18; 25:35 (NI)
2. Lk 19:1-10; Mt 5:39-42; Jn 8:3-11 (NI) Lk 6:31 (TE)
3. Lk 4:16; Jn 12:49; Mt 23:8-33; Ge 1:26-27; Jn 3:16; Mt 7:1 (NI)
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A Psalm for reflection "All Your creatures, Yahveh, will praise You, and all Your people will give you thanks." Ps 145:10 (ET)
Understanding the Teaching: What I share in the teaching is what I believe God wants me to share. All the direct quotes from God are highlighted in royal purple. Of course the words of Jesus are in red. Rather than follow some made up doctrine, remember that Jesus said that every thing He said (Jn 12:49) and everything He did (Jn 14:31) comes from God. All teachings and all opinions should be supported by what we learn from God or Jesus (see the scripture referred to in the footnote).
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MARRIAGE WORKSHOP MOMENT
To refresh what you have learned in our Workshop or entice you to experience our Workshop
"Remember, all marriages can be better, if you use what you learned."
In February 2010, a CBS poll found that 9 out of 10 married Americans said they would marry their spouse again. As we give you the tools to improve your marriage, remember that over 75% of married Americans are still on their first marriage and 90% are happy with their choice of spouse. When a discussion seems to be turning negative, it is time to say, "I need a time out". For those of you who have never had a discussion get bad, this might be when voices get louder and louder or when you are calling each other names that are not nice or when you both are hearing things more negatively than intended or when there is a subject that one of you refuses to discuss. After you say "I need a time out", it is a good time to take authority over the enemy (the devil) and pray for your marriage. Once you are both calmer, it is a good time to resume the conversation by using the Speaker Listener Technique. Click on the preceding link and learn more about how to use the Speaker Listener Technique and as always if you have any questions about how to use it you can email me at Ed@JesusCenter.net or call me at (918) 835-3787. Note: the Speaker Listener Technique is one of the most important concepts that we teach in our Marriage Workshops. It is so important that we teach it in all six workshops.
The Better Half "When your partner won't support your efforts to make your marriage better" Without your spouse's support to improve your marriage, you can still pray daily for God's will to be done in each of your lives and your marriage. Jesus said, "all things are possible with God", Mk 10:27 NI). When a discussion is turning negative, you can stop your contribution to the conflict. This is a good time to pray privately for your marriage and for guidance on what to say and do. This is also a good time to take authority in the Name of Jesus over the enemy who wants to destroy your marriage. Remember that over 75% of married Americans are still on their first marriage and 90% are happy with their choice of spouse.
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