Updated: Apr 9, 2021
Herod had the notorious reputation of being a political wheeler-dealer. He was involved in a load of political scheming, lying and manipulation to court the favor of both the Roman and religious authorities. It was common knowledge that he repeatedly abused the power of his office to gain political influence and to further his personal agendas.
Like leaven in the natural, Herod’s leaven distorts the shape and substance of one’s life. Whether it’s the religious leaven of the Pharisees or the secular leaven of Herod it has a radical effect upon dough. It distorts its original substance and appearance. It subtly works to inflate the dough into a loaf of hot air and flour giving it the false impression of having more substance than it really does.
This is the leaven that many politically minded Christians are given to and often consumed by – political intrigue, political wrangling, politicizing the gospel, politicizing the “Great Commission” and making political activism one of the main missions of the church. Multitudes of American Christians have ignored Christ’s warning to the contrary and have whole-heartedly swallowed the leaven of Herod. To them, it is the gospel plus politics.
Jesus gave this stern warning to the church to stay away from the political intrigue, machinations, and power-wielding that Herod was infamous for. Jesus was cautioning each of us to stay away from the carnality, chaos and confusion because of its potential to corrupt us as well and divert our attention from the mission He is calling us to. Politics, political activism, social and moral crusades are not the causes He has called us to.
Christ did not come into the world with a political agenda of any kind. He did not come into the world to legislate morality, reform governmental systems, change unjust laws of the land, involve himself in the political affairs of this world, promote parties, candidates or social causes regardless of how morally right they may seem. Jesus made it clear before Pilate that His Kingdom was not of this world. (John 18:36). Paul likewise exhorted us “not to entangle ourselves in the affairs of this life that we may please Him who has enlisted us as soldiers of Christ.” A fundamental failure to recognize the Spiritual and redeeming mission of the church inevitably leads to all forms of gospel corruption.
Adulterating the “Great Commission” with politics is a snare that inevitably leads to spiritual compromise and corruption. Its leavening effects often cause Christians to become inflated with the hot air of their own self-rightness, bombast, self-righteousness and judgementalism. We have all seen this many times among friends and fellow believers. They end up wallowing in a bottomless cesspool of name-calling, mudslinging, hate, ill-will, vilifying, divisiveness, fearmongering, ill-will, the sowing of discord, talk-show melodrama and bad fruit. Yes, you are free to vote, give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and be involved in politics if you must but beware. It is not the mission of the church or the “Great Commission” That Jesus called us to.