Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Gordan Runyan
Religion columnist 

'King of Kings' applies here and now

 

May 9, 2018



Decades ago, I was involved with a movement called, The March for Jesus. The idea was that Christians across the nation would gather locally and march around important buildings in their towns, like schools.

We all marched at the same time on the same day, and sang the very same songs in unison. That was the whole plan.

We had some idea that it was being done in imitation of Joshua’s march around Jericho. (Except, Israel annihilated Jericho with its strategy, and we were only aiming for meager improvements.)

Marchers were encouraged to make large signs and colorful banners to display. But, the event organizers were careful to caution us that political statements of any kind were not allowed. Quote Scripture. Say great things about Jesus Christ. Make it loud. Make it dazzling. But don’t make it uncomfortable for anyone who might read them.

It was acceptable to make a banner declaring that Jesus is King of kings, and Lord of lords. But anything that could be interpreted as “political” was out-of-bounds. For the record, yes, that is ironic.

This is not meant to insult The March for Jesus campaign. It’s an illustration of a common oversight on the part of many Evangelicals. We’ve been told that Christians should be wary of political involvement. We should “just preach the Gospel” instead.

Jesus is Lord. The Roman government of the first century saw that statement as an active threat to the supremacy of Caesar. Nero, for instance, put many Christians to death for openly declaring another king, Jesus (Acts 17:7). The charge was not religious heresy, but political rebellion.

If only time travel was a thing, we might save them all by sending back a modern, American Christian to explain that when we say he is Lord and King, we don’t mean anything by that:

“See, you’ve been misunderstanding us. We mean he’s Lord over our hearts and that’s it. He’s our spiritual, inward King. When we say, King of kings, we’re not talking about actual kings in reality, like yourself, your highness. What’s that? Um, yes, our book does say that every knee shall bow. Oh, I see, you thought you were included in that?” stammers our nervous representative, waving his hands. “No, no. Rest assured that you are in fact our real king.”

The Christians were not executed for worshiping a deity named Jesus in their hearts. The Romans had no problem with their subjects serving whatever gods they liked, as long as they confessed that the head of Rome was the supreme god. The problem came when the tyrants realized that “Jesus is Lord” meant that the Christian’s Savior had authority over Caesar, and could call him to account, demanding obedience.

Pay attention when you hear people quote the Great Commission from the end of Matthew’s Gospel. They’ll be passionate about the going; the disciple-making; and the baptizing. They will be less passionate about teaching the nations to obey. They will also routinely leave out the preface to the Commission, which is its reason for existence.

The resurrected Lord Jesus, conqueror of death and hell, appeared to his disciples and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.” (Matthew 28:18) Evil rulers who see that claim as a threat are not wrong.

Gordan Runyan is the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Tucumcari. Contact him at:

[email protected]

 
 

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