During a recent presidential election year in my country, I found myself disappointed by the behavior of some of our Christian leaders. They told us to put our hope in Jesus, but their words and actions indicated they were putting their hope in “Caesar”—in political power.
Perhaps I’m wrong. I’m reminded of author Greg Boyle’s insight that Jesus offended nearly everyone in His day. He would’ve likely offended both sides of my country’s current political divide. Indeed, I might be disappointed or angry about the behavior of some leaders’ words and actions, but I shouldn’t assume that Jesus thinks the same as I do about all political matters.
When Pilate was cross-examining Jesus at his headquarters, he asked: “Are you the king of the Jews?” (John 18:33). After some back and forth, Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).
No matter our political stance, we have to be careful not to put too much hope in any one political candidate or party to restore our nation or community. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:12 that we “are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
Politicians can do a great deal of good for people. They can also do great harm. No politician, however, can change a human heart or completely restore corrupt systems. Jesus alone has authority over everything in heaven and on earth, and so we must ultimately hope and trust in Him (Acts 4:12; Colossians 1:15-20).
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Psalm 103:1-22
Read Matthew 17:24-27 and consider our responsibility to governmental leaders and our ultimate commitment to Christ.
Why is it sometimes difficult to vote for leaders? How can we honor God with the way we discuss political issues and the way we vote for candidates?