Make no mistake: the Gospel is political.
Throughout his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus is political. He influences people to live into the Kingdom of Heaven. For Jesus, Heaven is not essentially some place off in the distance where you go after you die. No, Heaven is a way of life to be lived right here, right now. We see this clearly in the prayer he taught his disciples: "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
When Jesus entered Jerusalem riding a donkey on Palm Sunday, he was performing a political act. He was revealing that the reign of God is in stark contrast to the reign of Rome and every other political system that seeks triumphant victory by influencing people through violence and coercion.
Jesus was engaged in political street theater. Think of it as dramatized political satire. The procession into Jerusalem on a donkey was symbolic street drama, a parody of the popular expectation of a triumphant military liberator. Jesus came into Jerusalem as a King of Peace! He flipped the popular militaristic image of the messiah on its head.
Jesus revealed the alternative; a political way of life based on humble service, not triumphant violence.
This is not just a call to a personal ethic; this is a political ethic. Indeed, the politics of Jesus seeks to influence our personal lives, but it also seeks to influence our political lives. Wherever personal or political systems use violence, power, and coercion to be triumphant and victorious, Jesus beckons us to follow him into a different kind of politics – into the Kingdom of God that lives and dies by love, service, and forgiveness.
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