Jesus had no interest in politics, which was unusual for a young man of his cultural background. While politics consumed the hearts and minds of most of his fellow countrymen, Jesus kept his distance. This wasn’t because he was ignorant of political matters; far from it. He understood only too well the depths and temptations of worldly corruption in the political realm.
Why did he remain aloof from politics? Because, as he never tired of telling people, his kingdom is not of this world. His concerns and power base were spiritual, not worldly, and the two were diametrically opposed.
His refusal to support local leaders or become in any way involved in the political intrigues of the day caused Jesus no end of problems. He was expected de facto to kowtow to the ruling Jewish clerics, but he made it clear that he considered them corrupt and ignorant and wanted nothing to do with them. He had no problems telling them directly to their face, much to their horror. In fact, it was his open disdain for the Jewish rulers that ultimately got Jesus killed.
Like Jesus, I want nothing to do with politics. When I think of voters siding with this candidate or that, with this party or that, even though all of the parties and candidates have been shown to be profoundly corrupt on every conceivable level, it reminds me of Charlie Brown and Lucy. Every fall, Lucy would invite Charlie Brown to kick the football that she would hold for him, and every fall, just as Charlie Brown would run forward at full speed to kick it, Lucy would pull the ball away and Charlie Brown would slip and come crashing down. Every fall brought the exact same temptation and the same promise not to pull the ball away, and every fall came the same pulling away of the ball and spectacular crash. And yet, regardless of how many times Lucy was shown to be a liar and a con, her beguiling and seemingly sincere words of persuasion won Charlie Brown over time and time again.
Voters are an awful lot like Charlie Brown. They want to believe, and so they fool themselves into believing. But there’s nothing admirable in being fooled time and time again, regardless of how you try to package your foolhardiness as “patriotism” or “doing your civic duty”.
Jesus, who knew only too well that God had put the world under the control of Satan, knew also the corruption at the heart of politics, so he steered clear of it. He didn’t fall for slick speeches or empty promises; he saw through it and didn’t waste his time. Given how Christians are supposed to follow the lead of Jesus in all things, I can only shake my head at the number of Christians who have thrown their support behind the candidates in the American election. Like Lucy, they speak beguiling and seemingly sincere words, but it’s only a matter of time before they pull the football away.
If you’re a true follower of Jesus, you don’t put your name on the dotted line supporting any of the modern-day Pharisees, Sadducees and lawyers. You ask God to help you see through their hype (and that of those who support them) and you keep your distance from the election hoopla. We might have to live here on this planet for the time being, but our concerns, just like Jesus’, should not be of this world.