Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Jesus and Patriotism

Among the twelve whom Jesus chose:
Simon the Zealot. Levi Matthew, tax collector for occupying Rome.

Instructions He gave the twelve - including Simon - when sending them out:
"Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans."

Jesus, to a Samaritan woman when He had to pass through her nation with the twelve:
"You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews."

What she told everyone in her town, and the result:
" 'He told me everything I ever did.' So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers."

What His fellow countrymen, Galileans, said of Jesus before being foiled in their attempt to force Him to be king by His withdrawal to a desert place:
"Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world."

What Jesus said of his fellow Galileans:
"Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor."

Jesus, on paying taxes:
"Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."

What his accusers said of Him:
""We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king."

Jesus, on an occupying army officer:
"I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith."

What his countrymen said about Him:
"Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation."

Jesus, upon visiting the temple - the capital of his nation's theocracy:
"Do you see all these things? Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."

What two of His countrymen finally agreed upon in their testimony against Him:
"This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.' "

Jesus, when asked by the Roman governor if He was, in fact, a king:
"Yes, it is as you say."

Jesus, when asked by the Roman governor why His own people had handed Him over:
"My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."

The Roman governor, when petitioned by Jesus' countrymen to change the sign above His head from "The King of the Jews" to "He said he was the King of the Jews":
"What I have written, I have written."

What an occupying army officer said of Him after carrying out orders to crucify Him:
"Surely this was a righteous man; the Son of God."

I don't know what you conclude about Jesus from verses like these. My conclusion is that Jesus was a true patriot - a pioneer patriot to the kingdom of heaven, willing to make friends among aliens and enemies among countrymen for her; willing to go wherever she needed Him; willing to live and die for her.

I don't know what you conclude about our patriotism from verses like these.

I love my country.

I will pay taxes to her government. I will pay respect to her leaders - even those with whom I strongly disagree. I will pay attention and obedience to her laws insofar as I can.

But she is only a babysitter of sorts; a nanny for my immature years on this world; a protector from threats tangible only.

I, too, am called to be a patriot for a kingdom that is and yet is not of this world - and to follow the Pioneer Patriot toward a motherland to which He leads me.

So are you.

3 comments:

GKB said...

"willing to make friends among aliens and enemies among countrymen for her; willing to go wherever she needed Him; willing to live and die for her."

Well said.

Jimmy Shaw said...

Wow. That really IS well said, Keith.

Great perspective. Thanks for sharing.

mmlace said...

Keith, what wonderful words you share with us about our Messiah. Thank you for reminding us, as we celebrate our freedom in this land, that we are called to be patriotic citizens of a higher kingdom.

As Paul writes in Galatians, "The Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother." We, like Isaac, are "children of promise...not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman."

As I've been nearing the end of what I'm currently studying in my Bible, I've been trying to decide what to move on to next. Awhile back, I had made up my mind that I was gonna delve back into the "old Bible" (as one of my favorite preachers calls it!) and brush up on some stuff that I'm not as familiar with. But with each new, fresh snapshot of Jesus that you give us, I'm very tempted to abandon my OT study plans and just dive, once again, into the gospels and see Jesus anew, with each of the aspects that you so generously point out to us. I'm almost persuaded.

Oh, and so Acts is your favorite "gospel"??? Interesting. That's different. Why am I not surprised?