The Politics of Jesus

Nobody said what Jesus said.

Nobody did what Jesus did.

Nobody.

That’s why four guys ripped the roof off of Jesus’ house one day for their sinful, disabled friend. (See the full account in Mark 2.)

They wanted him to hear and be healed by a new politician who never ran for office named Jesus (meaning “God-Saves”!).

So many people had attended the political rally of Jesus that day, filling the house like commuters on an overcrowded bus, and these friends couldn’t even get through the door.

These friends got down-right political that day.

Politics centers on organized control of a community, by an authority, whereby the decisions apply to all members of the community.

These friends wanted their powerless, paralyzed friend to come under the political power of Jesus.

They worked together like a NASCAR pit crew and came up with a subversive way to get their friend to Jesus.

While Jesus was giving a political speech about his kingdom, the paralyzed man, lying on a bed, descended from an opening in the ceiling and hovered in front of him like a man on a magic carpet.

As Jesus opened his brown eyes wide, to take in this shocking site, I wonder if he had to wipe debris out of them that had fallen from the white, limestone ceiling.

What would this unelected politician say after such an interruption?

FORGIVEN!  “Your sins are forgiven.”

Wait a minute Jesus.

·        A kingdom is all about a political order.

·        A kingdom is all about authority.

·        A kingdom is all about a governing administration that is meant to straighten out a crooked world.

FORGIVEN! This was the stump speech given by the King of Kings?

A few scribes (experts in Jewish law and politics) were presumably sitting in reserved seats for the powerful elite and they began to squirm.

Some of them blurted out “Why does this man speak like that?”

These scribes, the political pundits and pollsters of that day, asked a profound question that relates to the deeper question of authority.

Jesus actually spoke as though he had authority.

Authority.

Now there’s a confusing, political word these days.

Authority is the power to describe reality.

Jesus “told it like it was” to a disordered, disabled man: “Your sins are forgiven.”

A man with an unsettled conscience, born with a sinful nature, who grew up sinning against God, was fully forgiven that day.

Jesus looked at the scribes and said in a matter of words “To prove my political authority, I’ll re-order this man’s reality.  I’ll give him ease instead of dis-ease. This man whom everyone describes as guilty under God and paralyzed, I’ll re-describe as forgiven, fully functional and friend of God.”

But Jesus moved far beyond political rhetoric that day.

He commanded the motionless man, to get up and drag his mattress home since he was forgiven and free.

And the motionless man, animated by the authority of Jesus, got up and walked away.

But wait!  Look a bit deeper into this story of authority.

This sinner never sinned against Jesus. Or did he?

If I sin against you, then only you can forgive me.

Only you can absorb the abuse and hurt that I have hurled at you.

Another person cannot tell me that I am forgiven if I sin against you.

Why would Jesus make the political claim that the man was actually forgiven?

Because this sinful man had sinned against God.

And Jesus was making the powerful political statement that He himself was God in the flesh who had invaded the established order to reverse the Humpty-Dumptying effects of the false political orders.

God had come to reorder, restructure, remodel, and re-administrate reality so that all those crippled and immobilized by guilt under God can be forgiven and free.

Jesus never came to take up political office for a term, instead he lived, died and rose again to TAKE OVER for eternity.

Do you put your trust in lesser political authorities when the greatest political authority rules and reigns over all of reality?

Is Jesus the highest authority in your life and do you submit to the description that he gives to reality as found in the Christian Scriptures?

Do you bow your knees and then rise like a watered plant, swaying in the sunshine when he looks your direction and declares “FORGIVEN and FREE!”?

Howard Cole
Senior Pastor
Metro North Church