Updated: Mar 29, 2021
I see a striking parallel between the mindset of many Christians today and the politically motivated mindset of many of the Jews in Christ’s day when He made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem. When Jesus entered the city on the back of a lowly donkey the crowds went wild with rapturous rejoicing. The streets were packed with excited crowds shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” At that moment they weren’t celebrating the coming of a suffering savior but a political savior. This wasn't a crowd of zealous believers willing to pick up their cross and follow Him. It was a political rally that was eagerly awaiting a soldier-statesman and warrior king like King David who would destroy their enemies and bestow upon them glory, power and wealth. They were looking for a leader who would make Israel great again. It was against this backdrop of politicized frenzy and Jewish expectation of a conquering Messiah that Jesus stood before Pilate and clarified, in no uncertain terms, that His struggle was not against flesh and blood; “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews...” (John 18:36) It was before this earthly ruler that Jesus clearly defined the spiritual nature of His kingdom by stressing that it was not a political crusade against the rulers of this world. He did not come to mount a military campaign to overthrow corrupt governments, lead a political movement to remove ungodly leaders or launch a new moral crusade to right all the moral wrongs in the world. Three days after entering Jerusalem these same rapturous crowds were on the verge of rioting when they demanded that Pontius Pilate crucify the "King of The Jews". As long as they thought that Jesus endorsed their political vision and supported their militant agenda against Roman rule He was warmly embraced, supported and praised. As long as Jesus was willing to become their political leader and crush the godless heathen under their feet, they would follow Him and rally around His flag. But when they were hit with the sobering reality that He wasn’t the commander-in-chief they were looking for and that His mission had nothing to do with their political agenda their enthusiasm quickly evaporated. The point I am making is the glaring similarities between the political mindset that consumed the Jewish mentality and the political mindset of many contemporary Christians when it comes to the importance and emphasis they place on political agendas, political candidates and the involvement of the kingdom of God in the affairs of this world. It is a similarity which is too obvious to ignore. Furthermore, despite Christ's clear statement to the contrary, we have multitudes of contemporary Christians wasting an enormous amount of time, energy and finances fighting for political agendas and political leaders which He didn’t call us to fight for. Christ’s declaration before Pilate is an undeniable challenge to those who claim it is the mission of the church to be politically active or those who would adulterate the gospel by politicizing it. We also have a lot of misguided Christians trying to make His kingdom one of the kingdoms of this world. Both are contrary to what Christ clearly stated. His battle has never been against flesh and blood or earthly powers. This never has been nor ever will be the battle the church has been called to fight on His behalf.
You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.@ ‑ (II Timothy 2:3,4)