Reading for the first time with the intent to finish one of Tom (N.T.) Wright’s volumes, from his “everyone” series, Paul for Everyone: The Prison Letters (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon), in Ephesians Bishop Wright’s translation reads, “King Jesus” and “the Lord Jesus, the king.” (p 3, 14). By his ascension and the pouring out of the Spirit, Jesus is king over the earth even now, when “the kingdoms of this world” hold their all too often dreadful sway.
It is true that we are to submit ourselves to the governing authorities and pay taxes to them. Paul makes that clear in Romans, and it is evident elsewhere. But it is a submission under the kingship of Jesus himself, so that with the apostle Peter we must always say, “We must obey God, rather than man.” This doesn’t mean we get out of paying our taxes, but that whenever we’re told by the state that we are to comply to anything which violates the revealed will of God given to us in Scripture, we must be sure that we comply to God, rather than to the worldly authority. Of course it is best if like Daniel we can appeal to the authority, and that becomes a witness of our faith, regardless of the outcome.
How does King Jesus make his will known in questions we have? By the word, through prayer, and through the counsel of godly people we know. All of these are important, and none should be neglected.
In the end we are to comply completely to King Jesus, and that will involve general compliance to the laws of the land. And if we are confined even to the point of incarceration, like Paul, who wrote letters from prison (see above book title), or John Bunyan writing The Pilgrim’s Progress from the same, our witness of faith can go on unabated, in fact as strong as ever.
The bottom line for us is that we have one king, Jesus. And all authorities are under him. We submit to them for the Lord’s sake as citizens of heaven. And in obedience to our king.
I know this is a rather loose ended posting. From it what thoughts would you like to share from your own understanding and experience? Does Jesus being king have political ramifications? What does it mean for our lives and for the life of the world?