Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Jesus: Political Revolutionary?

I was talking with an old friend the other afternoon as we were both waiting on a concert to begin. Several minutes into our discussion he asked me a question I wasn't quite ready for - Did I consider Jesus to be a "political revolutionary?"

My first response? Of course! I focused on the word revolutionary and immediately associated that with Jesus. Most everyone you ask would tend to agree. By His very own nature, Jesus was a revolutionary. There is no doubt that He revolutionized what it meant to be a worshiper of God, to seek the truth and know that grace is abundant. He absolutely changed the course of history! So to agree that Jesus was a revolutionary was not a very big leap.

But how about political? Was Jesus political? While Jesus never engaged in an active role in politics such as government or the state , was it fair to say the He had an impact nonetheless? Obery Hendricks Jr., in his book "The Politics of Jesus," claims that Jesus employed seven political strategies during his time on earth:

"To say that Jesus was a political revolutionary is to say that the message he proclaimed not only called for change in individual hearts but also demanded sweeping and comprehensive change in the political, social, and economic structures in his setting in life: colonized Israel," Hendricks writes.

It is true that Jesus changed the course of society by promoting care for the sick, healing those in need, feeding of the hungry and many more. Those are all hotly debated items in the political arena. Does this mean Jesus was a political revolutionary simply by association? Most political revolutionaries have used deadly force to accomplish their agenda. This is not true of Jesus. At His core He was a man of great love and compassion to say the least.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue. I'm not sure there is an easy answer but I do know this - the conversation will be an interesting one! My friend and I closed our brief talk and I could see that gleam in his eye. He had been thinking about this one quite awhile and was no closer to a complete answer than he had been on first thought. But for that moment it didn't matter - he had started another on the same journey.

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