the politics that matter for the Christian, the follower of King Jesus

Endow the king with your justice, O God,
the royal son with your righteousness.
May he judge your people in righteousness,
your afflicted ones with justice.

May the mountains bring prosperity to the people,
the hills the fruit of righteousness.
May he defend the afflicted among the people
and save the children of the needy;
may he crush the oppressor.
May he endure as long as the sun,
as long as the moon, through all generations.
May he be like rain falling on a mown field,
like showers watering the earth.
In his days may the righteous flourish
and prosperity abound till the moon is no more.

May the kings of Tarshish and of distant shores
bring tribute to him.
May the kings of Sheba and Seba
present him gifts.
May all kings bow down to him
and all nations serve him.

For he will deliver the needy who cry out,
the afflicted who have no one to help.
He will take pity on the weak and the needy
and save the needy from death.
He will rescue them from oppression and violence,
for precious is their blood in his sight.

Psalm 72:1-7,10-14

First of all, I want to make clear that my position in this does not exclude participation in this world at this present time, in my country of which I am a citizen, the American political process. Christians will debate over this and participate (a few not participating at all) in different ways.

The point I want to make is that the politics that should matter to us is the politics of Jesus, of King Jesus and God’s kingdom that has come, is present, and will come in and through him. That is the standard by which we judge everything else, including American politics, the United States Constitution, etc., etc.

The Magi who gave homage to the king of the Jews, the Christ Child, did so not really as kings themselves, traditionally wise men (though just as their number was not necessarily three, nor were they all necessarily male). But in a sense they not only represented Gentiles coming to the light of God in King Jesus, but kings coming to that light. King Herod (as he was called) received them (Matthew 2:1-12). And from other accounts such as in the Revelation, we find kings in the final kingdom in which Jesus will be King of kings and Lord of lords.

There can be a sense in which something of that dynamic, which someday will be the earthly existence in the new heaven and new earth, can go on today. Only through Jesus and God’s redemptive grace and kingdom come in him can there be a living, active politic of Jesus today in the world. God may be working that out in ways beyond our view, but ordinarily it is in view in and out from the church, the body of Christ in the world.

The passage from Psalm 72 quoted above makes it clear as to what are some of the priorities of God’s kingdom come in King Jesus, especially in terms of a broken world, and in terms of the full and final judgment and accompanying salvation to come.

So we have to be careful that as those in Jesus, our impetus, indeed thought and pattern in politics and in everything else is taken from him, and God’s revelation in him we find in scripture, and as sorted out and understood by the church. That understanding ongoing anew and afresh for every generation, yet still dependent on the work of previous generations, of those whose shoulders we stand on, such as the early church fathers and mothers.

It’s a work in progress, and yes, we need to go to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) and Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:17-49), but we also need to keep reading the entire Bible, beginning with Genesis and ending with Revelation, in order to get the complete picture.

The politics of this world are important, and to be taken quite seriously. But our allegiance in and through Jesus is entirely to one politic: that of God’s kingdom come in King Jesus. We judge everything in that light, the light in which we seek to live and show the world something of the life in justice and righteousness in God’s love by the Spirit which will go on forever and ever in and through King Jesus.

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