(Mark 15:7-15, John 18:33-40, John 19, 1 Samuel 8:6-9, 19-20, 12:19-25)
This was on my mind recently. The kingdom of darkness has many means, subtle means, to distract us from the purpose of our Father. In the end, and along the way, God presents choices to us. For many of us, a particular choice may be obvious, easy to make. For many however, the choice is not so. How many were present that day when Pilate stood before them? It was a major feast time in Israel, and the fulfillment of the Passover, the Lamb of God, stood before them. Among the crowd were those who had followed Him, who had seen the works which confirmed Him as having come from God. I am sure that Nicodemus and perhaps others of the priests were not shouting crucify Him. And others with Mary were in deep distress.
We know that the two on the road to Emmaus, three days later knew what had happened and I think they would have been in the city for the feast time. They would not have wanted Him crucified. The Lord’s high ways of working through the corrupted systems of religion and earthly government fulfilled His purpose to sacrifice the eternal Lamb. As Paul saw and shared with us, the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the cosmos. Before creation God had provided the Lamb. On Moriah, Abraham saw it. At that Passover time, none but the Lamb Himself understood. God gave the people a choice and many chose Barabbas. For us as believers, that is sad and distressing. Or even baffling. The god of this world had blinded the eyes of the unbelieving.
Today, I continue to hear the subtle draw to work with earthly government to bring righteousness to the earth. Whose righteousness, I ask? Ours? Yes we have seen the Lord and His righteousness and we desire to walk before Him. But is His kingdom a kingdom of law to be pressed upon others? Is that how Jesus and the apostles and the early church operated? Did they rise up to reform the Roman Empire? Did they request a meeting with Caesar to request the persecution to cease? On the other hand, did they pray for Peter’s release? Yes, and they were astounded when it happened. In Damascus, did Ananias question the Lord before he went and prayed for Saul? My point there is we don’t always get it perfectly but the apostles knew better than to try to get themselves off the hook. They knew persecution to the point of death were part of the story of God’s people.
When we look for earthly government to be an ally for the gospel of the kingdom, we are like Israel of the law and prophets looking to Egypt for aid. We are like them in the days of Samuel, asking for an earthly king, to be earthly minded. It continues to trouble me when believers equate an earthly nation with the kingdom of God. How did we get off the highway of God’s purpose in His Son? Jesus referred much to Daniel. Daniel lived in a time when the Spirit indicated through his understanding of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream that Babylon of that day was the golden head of earthly kingdoms. It was the greatest. And today we exalt current nations as great? Today’s earthly governments are the feet of iron and clay. That is the Spirit’s estimation. Are we hearing? The stone cut from the mountain takes down the entire image.
Jesus spoke of these days as the present evil age. Do we see it as such? We speak as if we can fix the world by improving earthly government. It must be displaced but God’s solution is not a better earthly government. His solution is to replace it with a heavenly. God’s solution to Saul’s failure was to raise up David. That was God’s plan from before Abraham. David failed as did Solomon. Each had a purpose and lesson for Israel. But the final solution is Christ. If we find ourselves involved with government, may our actions be with integrity to do our jobs well and represent Christ in every task. May we speak the truth, however the opportunity presents itself. Closing these thoughts I ask you to read John 19 and the passages in Samuel. Look at the parallel words and consider our ongoing dependence on earthly government and rulers. I am not speaking against using the provisions of infrastructure, paying taxes, or receiving social benefits. I am speaking of our hearts and speaking to our spirits. Do we want Saul, or Barabbas, or some other one who will straighten everything out and make us a great nation? Pay close attention to the history of Germany in the 1930’s. Beaten down and humbled after World War I, they voted Hitler into power as he promised recovery of their kingdom. They rejoiced in his reign. Some church leaders spoke of him like a savior, that he was God’s gift to the nation. The Lord still had people who saw through and knew better. Exalt the true king, Jesus Christ, in your hearts and give careful attention to all He would say to you. And pray for all those in authority whomever they may be.