Wednesday, August 16, 2017

We Have No King But Caesar


Reading the gospel of John recently I saw an enlightening juxtaposition of two verses. In chapter 12:44-50, John records Jesus’ last summary statement to the Jews (the public he addressed throughout His three year ministry) and in verse 46 He says, “I have come as Light into the world so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.” Later after Pilate has declared to them “I find no guilt in Him (Jesus),” the Jews tell him, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15).

In the context of the horror of Charlottesville this weekend and all the handwringing over what the President did and didn't say and when and how, over which side is more evil, which side is more right, which side’s leader has fewer “yeah buts” (YEAH he is a chump, he is a chameleon, she is evil… BUT he/she is helping our country be great again) every side sounds like they are saying, “We have no king but Caesar” as if Caesar is the Light. That too is darkness folks. What is appalling in addition to the tragedy in our midst is to see once again that no great country can solve the fundamental problem of man, his innate evil heart. We hate being reminded that a good country can spawn terrorists, some of whom claim a Biblical mandate for their hatred, others who falsely accuse the Bible for spawning hatred.

I hate a lot of human faults, they are disgusting to a degree that rips into my very soul with the potential to divide me from those most dear to me. And all the time Jesus is reminding me that in the Light there is no hate.

So I have to bring my handwringing to Him. I have to let go of it in His presence. I do not want to let go of it. It seems my primordial right to lament evil and demand justice. Jesus said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." This can rightly be adapted to, "Love those who hate your political opinions and pray for those loved ones who get angry, unreasonable, obnoxious, unbearable because you do not agree with them." This is living in Light, instead of darkness. Light must be quite distinguishable from darkness. The apostle Paul piles it on as well, "Love... does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the Truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (I Corinthians 13:6,7). Love must be quite distinguishable from hate.