Jesus Did Not Come to Make a Christian Nation or Judge People
Jesus didn’t come to make a Christian nation or judge people.
He came to fulfill the scriptures and prophecies written about him.
In Daniel, we see that what Jesus initiates will grow and grow while human-made kingdoms crumble.
In John, Jesus dodges the crowd that wants to make him king by force. Why? Because he knows what’s in the heart of people and their methods aren’t his methods.
When asked the “should-we-pay-taxes-to-this-oppressive-government” question, Jesus does not accept the challenge to lead a revolution because political power is not Jesus’ tool for changing hearts and minds. No. Jesus answers with, “Give the government what belongs to it, and give God what belongs to him.”
Wait a minute, Jesus. I think you’re missing an opportunity here. The Romans are particularly cruel and abusive toward us. Their allegiances are to false idols. Our way of life, our sense of identity is under threat. Now, you’ve done some pretty amazing things… People could rally around you… We should seize this opportunity, expel the Romans, be in charge and govern ourselves again!
And Jesus walks away.
And heads to a party to eat and drink with those who are scorned, shamed, and outcast by the religious leaders. “Why does your teacher–if he’s a prophet and a man of God–associate with such people?” they ask his disciples.
In all four gospels, Jesus interacts with people who are wanting to be close to God but are kept at bay by religiosity and cultural stigma. Jesus shows these people true compassion, love, and forgiveness. And in response, their hearts and lives change.
In John, Jesus says he did not come to judge people for their sin, but to set them free from it.
In Matthew and Luke, Jesus sends out his disciples to preach to the towns in Judea—in places where people already try to live according to the scriptures—and he tells his disciples to preach “the kingdom of God” message, the kingdom that is not of this world and will grow and grow over the centuries while nations rise and fall.
He does not send his disciples outside of Judea in order to lambast other people groups about their sin against a God they don’t already worship or recognize. Lambasting is not Jesus’ method.
And years later, when Jesus does send kingdom-of-God messengers beyond the Jewish population into other cultures—with carriers like Paul, Barnabas, Silas and Mark—it’s still done Jesus’ way.
Paul writes of faith, hope, and love, patience, kindness, and gentleness. Yes, Paul encourages believers to hold each other accountable for how they live their lives in accordance with the moral standards set forth by the scriptures, but he does not expect believers to wave these standards in the faces of non-believers in order to call down judgment. No, no, no.
Peter writes to remind believers of the great price Jesus paid for our fellowship with God and how we should be humble.
John and Jude write to warn believers of false teachers who will come and seek power, money, and fame and lead immoral lives.
Now, what is the state of the “U.S./Canadian church at large” these days?
- There are “teachers” who seek power, money, and fame and who lead clearly immoral lives.
- There are “believers” who slap people with labels in judgment.
- There are “believers” who grasp at political power as a means of expelling immorality and governing with a religious hand.
Was any of that Jesus’ way?
Did Jesus come to establish “a church” that would grasp for political power?
Did Jesus come so believers could be rich, famous, and immoral?
Did Jesus come to shout at people about how far away they were from God–how God hated them?
In the broad aspect of U.S./Canadian culture, the church is known for these three things: political power, prosperity gospel, and sitting in judgment.
In Matthew, Jesus says he will build his church upon the rock-solid foundation that he is the Messiah, the one to fulfill the prophecies and the scriptures, the Son of God. His church is to be built on these truths and in alignment with his character.
Since Jesus was a compassionate, intentionally poor, dodging-man-made-power carpenter, it’s doubtful “the American church at large” is still using his foundation.
References in order:
Daniel: prophecy Daniel 2 and Daniel 7
John: dodging king by force John 6:15
John: heart of men John 2:23-25
pay taxes question and answer Luke 20:21-25
Jesus at a party Matthew 9:9-13
All four gospels: lives changed — Matthew 9:1-7; 35-38, Mark 1:40-44; 5:1-20; 14:3-9, Luke 7:36-50; 19:1-10, John 9
John: not come to judge John 3:16-17, John 8:4-11
John: set people free John 8:31-36
Sending out disciples: Matthew 10:1-15 and Luke 10:1-16
Jesus says his kingdom is not of this world John 18:33-38
Paul: faith, hope, and love 1 Corinthians 13; patience, kindness, gentleness Galatians 5:22-23
Paul: hold each other accountable Galatians 6:1-2; 1 Corinthians 5
Paul: how to act with unbelievers 1 Corinthians 5: 9-13
Peter: price paid 1 Peter 1:17-20
John: warning of false teachers 2 John 7-11
Jude: warning of false teachers Jude 3-4; 8; 10-13; 17-19
Jesus: church foundation Matthew 16:13-18
Jesus: poor Matthew 8:18-20