Christmas and Politics, Politics and Religion

Here we are just two days away from Christmas and I’m dragging politics into it. But in my defense, I’m not the one that penned the following words in my gospel, “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea…” (Luke 1:5). It seems that when the King of Israel was born in Bethlehem, there was already a king in Judea, and this was bound to cause problems. It was not a problem that there were two kings. It was a problem that one of those kings didn’t know Who the other King was. Peter, Edmund, Susan, and Lucy were true kings and queens of Narnia. But when Aslan arrived, they all took a knee. Problem solved.

Herod did not have this disposition. He had come to power through the Machiavellian methods of manipulation, assassination, alliances, and a good PR department. His family was littered with the corpses of those he had killed. The expediency of murdering the baby boys of Bethlehem did not trouble his sleep nearly as much as the thought that there might be a threat to his power. Herod’s paranoia existed because somewhere deep down he knew that apart from his own machinations, he had no real right to rule. He had not submitted to the True Authority, and therefore he possessed no true authority.

Anyone who reads the life of Jesus Christ and comes away thinking that He was misunderstood by those who opposed him may be right or they may be wrong. They will be right if they think that Christ’s enemies refused to acknowledge His deity, His mission, and His authority. But they will be dead wrong if they think that Christ did not pose a purposeful threat to every dominion and power on this dark planet. Christ came to dethrone the Rulers and to defrock the Priests, not so that we would have John Lennon’s “Imagine”, but so that He could establish a Government and a Church of His own. He came preaching that the kingdom of heaven had come, which meant that the kingdoms of this world would need to bow. The angel announced that He had come to occupy the throne of His father David, and of His kingdom there would be no end. And because He had the kind of authority that came from above, His adversaries feared even though they didn’t see an army behind Him. That’s the effect of lawful authority.

We tend to think that all politics and all religion is messed up. But that’s not true. People are messed up. Government composed of sinful people is not wicked because of “government”, but because of “sinful people”. Jesus did not condemn the Pharisees for their spirituality, but for their lack of it. When Messiah comes, Isaiah prophesied, the Government shall be upon His shoulders. When righteousness reigns, Politics and Religion will both be cleansed.

In the present Age, we should at least see signs of this righteousness in the community of Christ: the Church. When Christ is seated on the throne of the Church, the Church will be governed rightly by those servants called for such a purpose. “Submit to them that have the rule over you” is an admonition given to believers in the Church, and there is nothing abusive about it. As long as Peter bows to Aslan, he remains the lawful High King of Narnia, just as Elders retain their rightful rule as long as they bow to Christ. Christians are not hardened cynics, but hopeful saints.

Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;

Simeon, Luke 2:34

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