Prays Together: Navigating Political Pressure

The Bible never ceases to amaze me. It navigates me through everything I need to know about life, even politics. I believe we need to have a clear understanding on how to live a graceful Christian life and be a witness under the immense political pressure. What should the role of Christians be in politics? Do we get involved, or not? Do we vote or abstain?

The Bible shows believers holding important roles in government. When you read about Daniel and Joseph, you see the life-saving importance of being involved. The problem is that we sometimes let our political association define us more than our Kingdom affiliation. As Christians we should never give the impression to those considering the Christian faith that they must align themselves with us politically, or to whatever party we affiliate with. We need the Gospel message unaltered, no strings attached, and pure. Our Christian message is clear in every season and that’s to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). It’s important for us to always be the bearers of that “Good News.”

The Bible is clear about Kings and kingdoms. We can trust Him with the changes our nation is experiencing. The Bible says in Daniel 2:21 “He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others.” Psalm 22:28 says; “for dominion belongs to the Lord and He rules over the nations.”

Jesus faced political pressure. After He miraculously fed the five thousand the Bible says that “they intended to come and make him king by force, and He withdrew to a mountain by himself” (John 6:15.) Jesus refused to be defined by a political party. If He let them make him King of the Jews, He would’ve alienated everyone else. Billy Graham once said, “Christ belongs to all people.” That means all people, no matter what their political persuasion may be.

So how do we escape identity politics? In John 18:33-40 we read about when Jesus was on trial before Pontius Pilate. During their conversation Jesus said, “the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” Pilate’s response to Jesus was, “What is truth?” Obviously, Pilate didn’t know. But we must choose truth as defined by God and not filtered through any political or cultural lens. That’s the side we choose!

As that conversation ended, Pilate had another man brought in. This man was named Jesus-Barabbas (Matthew 27:16,17), a known murderer and political insurrectionist (in some ways equivalent to today’s Antifa or right-wing militia). They stood, side by side, for the people of Israel to choose. They chose Jesus-Barabbas. Jesus of Nazareth was crucified.

Today, we’re at a crossroad. Which Jesus will we choose? Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus-Barabbas? “Our Father in heaven hallowed be your name, your kingdom come your will be done” (Matthew 6:9-10).

Gabe Gary is pastor at The Bridge Exeter. He may be reached by calling 559-592-4828. Prays Together is a rotating column between the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church.

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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