How Would Jesus Vote? The Politics of Christ and How Christians Should Relate to Government
Standing in a long line ready to cast one’s vote is part and parcel to the modern western notion of ethical governance. America is central to this ideology, as it has spread this notion throughout the globe. Notions of equality and a society which is formed by everyone’s voice collectively ruling together is praised. Most especially on days such as these when Americans set out to decide what laws should be passed, what leaders should govern, and in what direction our nation should head.
Often Christians tangle and mix their faith with this american model of governance. But the reality is that the American system is not the Christian model of government. America is not uniquely God’s graced and promised land.
Most certainly the United States is blessed. But it is blessed when the people listen to the truths of scripture and make wise decisions. There is no unique blessing that God has rained down on this nation above others. We have created the nation we live in. And if it is ruined, it will be as such not because God has abandoned us but because we have abandoned godly principles which promise to lead to health and prosperity.
And as so many stand in line to vote, mulling over the various propositions and proposed elected officials, the Christian will undoubtedly ask a most curious question: “How would Jesus vote?”
The truth is unsettling.
Jesus said nothing of consequence about the politics of his time. Though debate was hot and rampant, he spoke of things beyond governance and politics. He was not interested in the political systems of his time.
Rome ruled what had been promised to the Hebrew people. Greek culture had all but penetrated the very lives of the Jews. And though Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and Zealots had a plethora of arguments about what should be done, Jesus seemed to have none.
Some called for religious isolation. Some called for open rebellion. But Christ called for peace and passive coexistence in a political system that was an affront to the very laws of God.
The Politics of Christ
When pressed about his politics, Jesus gave tiny glimpses of his politics. The Pharisees approached Christ with intent to trick him with political questions. They asked whether it was right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar. If he said yes, they would say he supported Rome’s rule. If he said no, they would say he supported rebellion against the Roman occupation. But in response, Jesus said so famously, “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” (Matthew 22:15-22).
Compliance to the government is good—regardless of whether it is unlawful or unethical. But everything belongs to God so give him all.
Moreover, Christ constantly spoke of the Kingdom of Heaven which he would bring to earth. In this kingdom, the follower of Christ would find his allegiance and in which he would find his citizenship. It is not of this world.
This is no democracy. It is a government which is perfectly fashioned by God.
Or what some have called a theocracy.
God rules over all powers and governments. He is the king of kings—whether they realize it or not. This curious case is found in Romans 13:1.
“Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God.”
Thus our true ruler is God—a king. A fashioner of earthly powers through which he invests authority.
How Should a Christian Relate to Government
The follower of Christ must realize, than, that any system of government receives it’s authority from God and thus must be obeyed.
But in the case of democracies, we should cast our vote in a way that is honoring to God. We have a hand in shaping the system that represents God’s governing authority (next to the church of course). We must be good stewards of the power that God has granted us.
And since a democracy is rule by the people. God rules through us.
Make a decision and use the authority that God has granted you.
How do you think a Christian should relate to government?
THEOLOGY21 is a co-op of authors dedicated to renovating theology for a new generation, taking the ancient truths of scripture and theology and speaking to the post-Christian culture of the 21st century. To keep up-to-date on all things THEOLOGY21, Give our Facebook page a “like”, follow our twitter page, add yourself to our email list, or subscribe to our feed!