Preparing for Worship: Jesus or Caesar?

Preparing for Worship: Jesus or Caesar?

John Haralson   •   November 11, 2016

In our church there are minorities wondering if they're wanted and people who voted for Trump wondering if everyone assumes they're racist. Give grace.

―Brian McCormack

Dear Friends,

I’ve talked to a lot of you this week about the election. Many of you are anxious and afraid. Some of you are angry. Others of you voted for Trump and are glad that he won, but feel like everyone around you is assuming the worst about your character.

For others, there is ambivalence. We have checks and balances, just how much impact can a President actually make? Finally, some of you are mad that the church is even talking about this stuff. Shouldn’t church be about Jesus? Politics can seem like an unfaithful direction for the church to take. 

Yet, the Bible doesn’t hide from the very pressing realities of political leaders. The Biblical story of God sharing his life with his people often takes place in the context of kings, emperors, and governors. Whether it’s the story of Moses confronting Pharaoh, Daniel serving under King Nebuchadnezzar, or Paul’s dealings with just about every layer the Roman government, the Bible is filled with the political realities of the world we live in. 

At the same time, however, the Bible always points us in the direction of a reality even bigger than the political circumstances we find ourselves in. That reality is this:

Jesus is Lord.

In the Greco-Roman world where that holy phrase was first uttered, Caesar was understood to be Lord. Caesar was an almost divine figure who was believed to be the blessing bearer. People were urged (and coerced) to come under Caesar’s reign in order to be blessed.

But, the early Christians knew better. They knew that Caesars, even the really good ones, were pale shadows compared to the reality of Jesus Christ―the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is the true blessing bearer. He comes to offer us life on the basis of his sacrificial, self-giving love. And, we receive that gift not by alignment with any person or political party or cause. We receive that gift by faith alone.

So this week, like every other week, we are going to gather together around the one true King. 

This Sunday: Jesus or Caesar?, Luke 2:1-7

I hope to worship with you.

Liturgy is here

John