“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10
Followers of Jesus have always had a sticky relationship with politics. Jesus himself was killed largely due to his refusal to align with the political systems of his day. Part of the challenge for us is the fact that we are not called to align with groups or even a country. Jesus did not spend his time teaching us which policy or candidate was correct. He wasn’t interested in party lines, instead he came to declare the beginning of a new political system all together. That new system is what Jesus and the New Testament writers called the Kingdom of God. As followers of Jesus we are, as Peter tells us above, a holy nation. We are not Jews, Greeks, Romans, or Americans. Instead we are citizens of the Kingdom of God.
Does that mean we should avoid the subject of politics altogether as Jesus followers? By no means! In fact, Jesus wasn’t killed because he didn’t pick a side, he was killed because he critiqued both sides and offered new citizenship in his Kingdom. This week, as we explore how to think and engage in politics as followers of Jesus, we do well to remember that our allegiance is ultimately to Jesus as King, not to a party or even an earthly nation. We are a holy nation and the party line is love, forgiveness, self sacrifice, humility over pride, and of Jesus as king!
This past Sunday we heard a song called “Citizens” by Jon Guerra. It’s a song that expresses a longing for God’s kingdom to be realized. Today I challenge you to listen to another song by Jon called “Kingdom of God.” This song is a reflection on the ideas found in the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ magnum opus of sermons. In it he paints a picture of the kingdom for us. As you listen, ask God to increase your understanding of his Kingdom vision and to make you a good citizen of that kingdom over all others.
By Aaron Bjorklund