Yesterday I introduced you to The Shadow of the Galilean by Gerd Theissen. Here’s another snippet from the book. It’s actually from the author writing to a friend who is reviewing his book, chapter by chapter.
Jesus expected radically changed political circumstances but did not expect that they would be brought about through political change. His aim was “political,” but it was to come about without politics. God would realize this aim. And that meant that people were not to achieve this aim by treating others violently. Nor, however, were they to be completely passive.
If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you know that this paragraph caught my attention like a crazy man. This may be, in my opinion, one of the best summations I have ever read on Jesus being political.
This is the separation between being political and being partisan. Jesus was here to unfold the Kingdom of God, to bring out a new reality – a reality that has a new governance too. He wasn’t here to do this through violence. He wasn’t here to exchange one empire for another. He isn’t involved in our world to shift power between two faulty and failing political partisan forces who only care about power.
Jesus has a different aim. And we are a part of it. We participate in Jesus’ aim when we live out his call for us – to be peacemakers, to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute, to offer mercy, to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, the visit the sick and imprisoned, to care for the widow and the orphan. That’s Jesus’ political platform in a nutshell.