Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jesus for President (JFP): Section @

Jesus' unique calling for a unique people!

The language mentioned earlier comes a couple pages before. Mentioned earlier are: Kingdom, Gospel, Messiah, Son of God, Ekklesia, Savior, Faith, Lord, Emmanuel, and Worship. All these words had duel meaning in that they were used by the existing, non-Christian States and then Jesus politically and spiritually hijacked them for the Kingdom he was going to build. The numbers are the points I want to highlight.

"But it wasn't as if Jesus, in using such language, wanted Rome's power or wanted to gain a foothold in the culture war's of his time. He didn't want to climb Caesar's throne [1]. This political language doesn't harmonize with the contemporary church project of 'reclaiming America for God [2].' Precisely the opposite: Jesus was urging his followers to be the unique, peculiar, and set-apart people that began with Abraham. He didn't pray for the world in order to make the governments more religious: he called Israel to be the light of the world [3] - to abandon the way of the world and cultivate an alternate society in the shell of the old[4], not merely to be a better version of the kingdom of this world [5]."
  1. This seems to me to be the meaning of "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's" as revealed in Matthew 22. It isn't a call to pay taxes (as the democrat in me wants it to be) and it isn't a call to obey government (as the republican wants me to think). It is, in affect, a separation of church a state. It is Jesus refusing the thrones and crowns that he could have had in Matthew 4. He is calling us to be separate. To be in the world, but not of it.
  2. I wanted to see why the authors quoted "Reclaiming America for God." There is literally a website titled this correlating to a literal book for this idea. The site is actually mild compared to what I expected.
  3. He actually used these words when he started his most blessed Sermon on the Mount (this is my heart song). Right after "The Beatitudes" he says, "You are the light of the world." It is no accident that he sets up his own upside down Kingdom in the beatitudes and the rest of the sermon on the mount and then says that those who live by this kingdom are the light of the world, set apart (holy) from the world, empire, state, and for Him.
  4. "...to abandon the way of the world and cultivate an alternate society in the shell of the old" is exactly what "holiness" is. It is more than just set apart for sitting there and looking pretty. It is being alternative to everything else to let our light shine. "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
  5. "...not merely to be a better version of the kingdom of this world." This part reminds of when Jesus says, "Jesus said, 'My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.' He came to make something new, not renovate man's failed attempt. This was the problem of the apostles. They wanted an earthly kingdom. They saw their wrong thinking and repented but many didn't. It is ridiculously obvious when one reads the context of this passage. Jesus is handed over to the Roman state by the Jewish state. The Roman state is questioning Jesus and He says the quote above and earns the title, King of the Jews (which is put on his cross and is a contributing factor for his punishment). The Roman state pleads with the people that He sees no guilt in Jesus and will release him if the Jewish people want. They get to choose some prisoner to release. "They shouted back, 'No, not him! Give us Barabbas!' Now Barabbas had taken part in a rebellion." They chose the guy that had been apart of a rebellion. The one who has actively tried to overturn an earthly kingdom over the One who brought forth a Kingdom of peace and love and unity between: man and man, and man and God.
This is all making so sense. I love and fear where it is going. This book is painting broad strokes in showing that the people of God have stayed away from state and followed Christ's Kingdom. I am worried that is will jump to us and America in such a real way, in such a scriptural way, that I will be without excuse to what it means to be a Christian in Oroville, California, America, the World.

I pray Christ takes it slow with me. I like being different, but not in ways that really hurt. It reminds me of C. S. Lewis quote in "Mere Christianity," "Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of--throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself."

Blessings and Peace!

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